Sadly, too many dental patients are nervous when it comes to going to the dentist, often owing to a bad experience as a kid or to dental urban legends! We deal with a lot of these myths in our practice newsletter, but in this blog, I want to debunk some of the most common dental misconceptions that I hear from my patients.
Root canal work doesn't cause cancer
I blame Google and Facebook for this one. The number one dental myth that my patients ask me about is whether root canals cause cancer. Unfortunately, I hear a lot of crazy things now owing to articles circulating on the internet and social media that have no scientific basis in truth. For example, I remember seeing an article written on Facebook a while ago alleging that one of the common things you see among cancer patients is that they have had root canal work, and that's just totally untrue! There is no link between root canal work and cancer.
Fluoride in your toothpaste is not harmful
Another common dental misconception is that fluoride toothpaste is harmful. Dentists hear it all the time, but its scientifically proven time and time again not to be the case. When patients ask me about this, I'm happy to provide them with some scientific grounded information and facts about the importance of fluoride when to comes to dental care. In particular, I explain that fluoride is absorbed through the enamel on your teeth and replenishes lost minerals. In other words, it makes your teeth strong and helps to prevent tooth decay. That said, at the same time I need to support my patients and what they want to do (within reason), so I'm not going to tell anyone that they have to use fluoridated toothpaste if they're adamant they don't want to!
Dental X-rays aren't dangerous
Patents often worry about exposure to radiation during X-rays, but realistically the amount of radiation to which they'll be exposed from a modern dental X-ray is negligible. These days dentists use digital X-rays and so the dosage coupled with the new technology of digital X-rays has allowed us to reduce the amount of radiation used in dental X-rays dramatically: it's about 1/10th of the dosage that it used to be, which is roughly the equivalent of the exposure you get from 20 minutes or less in the sun.
Dentistry during pregnancy is not dangerous
Another common misconception is that dentistry during pregnancy is unsafe. If anything, its actually the opposite that's true! Letting dental issues go untreated during pregnancy can have potentially more harmful effects. These days, even dental X-rays are safe during pregnancy if necessary. Ideally, we try to avoid that by doing the dental X-rays prior to pregnancy but realistically, there is no reason to avoid going to the dentist just because you are pregnant. Its perfectly safe for the mother and child to undergo dental work.