Is Root Canal Procedure Painful?

The root canal procedure itself is usually painless as your dentist will completely numb the tooth being treated before he or she begins the root canal. Many people erroneously associate root canal treatment with extreme pain as it often follows a painful infection in a tooth, but in reality, having the infected tissue removed is actually the first step to ending the pain that already exists and pain is not a result of the treatment.

Patients should note, however, that not all teeth which need root canal treatment hurt; sometimes the nerve of the tooth can die painlessly as a result of decay, trauma, or bruxism (the involuntary grinding of the teeth). In such cases, root canal treatment should be done as a preventative measure as the cavity left behind after the root dies provides an ideal environment for bacterial growth, making future infection highly likely.

To prevent pain from occurring during the treatment process, your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to “freeze” the tooth (just like when you have a filling) and the surrounding area. If this is not enough reassurance and you still feel extremely apprehensive about having a root canal, talk to your dentist, he or she may be able to provide additional calming medicines, such as nitrous oxide.

As is sometimes the case when a filling is placed, you may feel some mild sensitivity around the tooth for a few days after the root canal treatment is performed. Avoid putting that tooth into contact with hot or cold food and beverages to minimise pain, and if inflammation persists, contact your dentist and ask that he or she prescribe you an anti-inflammatory medication. With a week, the pain should have ceased. You will then need to arrange to have a permanent filling or crown placed to protect the root of the tooth from subsequent reinfection.

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