The January survey of 1,014 U.S. adults by the American Association of Endodontists found 63 percent said they want to avoid a root canal, but 69 percent said they want to avoid losing a permanent tooth.
During Root Canal Awareness Week, the American Association of Endodontists -- members of which perform root canals and diagnose and treat tooth pain -- said it wanted to dispel myths surrounding the treatment and encourage patients who need a root canal to see an endodontist to save their natural teeth.
"We've all heard the saying, 'I'd rather have a root canal' used in a negative way," said William T. Johnson, president of the American Association of Endodontists. "But ask a patient who has completed root canal treatment how it was and you'll hear things like, 'My root canal was painless,' 'The root canal was much better than I expected,' and 'My endodontist explained everything that was happening during the procedure.'"
Research by the American Association of Endodontists found patients who have experienced a root canal are six times more likely to describe it as "painless" than patients who have not had root canal.
A recent Consumer Reports reader survey found more patients reported severe pain after getting a tooth pulled than having a root canal, Johnson added.
No further survey details were provided.