It always begins the same way:  I have nothing against you, but I hate the dentist.  There is no doubt that the word "dentist" conjures up feelings of anxiety and fear within certain patients.  Most of the time, the fear originates from a negative dental experience many years in the past.  Unfortunately, despite the advances in dentistry, the dental profession has not yet been able to completely extinguish these feelings of fear and anxiety.  It is not surprising that root canals top the category of most feared dental procedures, when it should in fact be considered the most misunderstood procedure.  Pain is often associated with root canal treatment, but it is usually the pre-operative pain of which is being regarded.  There is no reason why a root canal procedure cannot be performed 100% pain-free.  Patients must be reminded that the purpose of a root canal procedure is not to cause pain, but rather to relieve it, and many patients will attest to near immediate relief of pain following a root canal.  Hopefully with each passing painless dental procedure performed, the level of fear and anxiety in patients is gradually elimitated.