When someone says “root canal”, most people envision a painful and lengthy dental procedure that renders the patient uncomfortable, bleeding and stressed. Though root canal therapy has the potential to cause some minor discomfort, those who claim this procedure is egregiously painful are almost always over exaggerating. In reality, root canal therapy is nowhere near as painful as most people think.
People typically associate root canal therapy with pain. However, it is the tooth being treated that causes the pain. This infected tooth is the underlying cause of the discomfort as opposed to the root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is performed to alleviate the pain stemming from the infected tooth. Contrary to popular opinion, root canal therapy is actually painless. The dentist applies a local anesthetic to ensure the tooth and surrounding areas are numb. Furthermore, the dentist can provide the patient with nitrous oxide1 or another calming medicine to alleviate the discomfort.
Once the infected tooth’s nerves are removed, there is still the potential for the treated tooth to cause pain. Once again, the source of discomfort is the actual tooth in question as opposed to the root canal therapy. Though an infected tooth treated with root canal therapy2 will not be sensitive to especially cold or hot beverages or food, the area in the vicinity of the tooth will likely prove sensitive for a couple of days. If this occurs, the dentist will prescribe medicine to decrease inflammation. The bottom line is the assistance of numbing medicine really does mitigate pain stemming from an infected tooth and any potential discomfort that could arise during root canal therapy.
A considerable number of patients hesitate to move forward with root canal therapy as they assume it will be excruciatingly painful. The truth is root canal therapy is carefully designed to save the painful infected tooth. In fact, root canal therapy saves more than 20 million infected teeth each year in the United States alone. This therapy is essential for continued oral health as infected or damaged dental pulp will prove quite painful as time progresses.
Do not let the hype around the actual root canal therapy’s supposed pain cause you to live one day longer with your infected tooth. If you have pain when biting or pushing the tooth, sensitivity or swelling, it is an indication the pulp is infected. The pulp is the soft tissue containing the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves. This infected tissue must be removed as soon as possible or your pain will eventually reach the point where it becomes unbearable.
Have our dentist remove the infected pulp and you will find the tooth is no longer as painful. A dental material similar to rubber in texture referred to as gutta percha, is used to replace the damaged pulp. You will have no worry about the infected pulp causing that much more pain as time progresses. Nor will you have to worry about the infection worsening. The pain will stop following the root canal therapy. You will be able to keep this natural tooth for the remainder of your life unless another dental problem or injury occurs. Though it will be necessary to return to the dentist for another appointment or two so the tooth can be restored with a crown or filling, you will no longer have to deal with the discomfort from the infected tooth. You can live a completely normal life from this point onward, eating the foods you desire, flossing, brushing and so on.
According to the American Association of Endodontists3, the vast majority of patients feel no pain or very minor pain during root canal therapy. This finding is contrary to popular opinion as most people have heard the pervasive myth about how root canal therapy is allegedly extremely painful. The sensation of pain is masked quite well by the dentist’s numbing of the tooth as well as the surrounding space. Though there might be some sensitivity and pain in the couple days following treatment, there is no guarantee of such pain. If the treated tooth feels sensitive in the days following root canal therapy, take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or aspirin. The dentist might also provide a prescription pain medication to alleviate temporary discomfort.
Our dentist knows exactly how to save damaged and infected teeth without incurring excessive pain. You can rest easy when visiting our dental office for a root canal, knowing our dental team has successfully handled countless root canals in the past. We have specialized equipment at our disposal to complete root canal therapy and additional challenging treatments without the pain most associate with these complex dental procedures. As long as you take optimal care of your tooth after it is treated with root canal therapy by flossing and brushing with regularity, you will minimize the chances of subsequent pain and problems.
The moral of this story is it is better to risk minimal pain following root canal therapy to preserve your natural tooth than to have it extracted or treated in another manner. As an example, relying on a dental implant or a bridge as opposed to root canal therapy will take up more time, likely prove costlier and possibly lead to problems with adjacent teeth. No artificial tooth will ever replace the functionality or aesthetics of a natural tooth. Opt for root canal treatment and the treated natural tooth just might last the rest of your life.
Have your root canal therapy performed at our office and you will find the experience is nowhere near as painful as others claim. We go to great lengths to keep our patients comfortable, especially during dental procedures that have the potential to cause some pain. Reach out to us to today schedule an appointment. You can contact our dental team4 at (707) 416-0626.