[Dentist Talk] Is root canal treatment painful?
During a root canal treatment, your dentist gets deep into the root of your damaged tooth to remove the infected pulp caused by cavities, improper dental fillings, or injuries, etc. After removing the pulp and clean the chamber, your dentist will fill the tooth for long-term protection.
Many people assume root canal treatment is an excruciating procedure, thus often putting it off even if it is recommended by their dentist. Contrary to popular belief, whether the root canal is painful depends on many factors.
Is root canal treatment painful?
To prepare yourself for this procedure, it’s best to research the steps involved so you know exactly which may cause you discomfort. A standard root canal treatment includes:
- Dental X-rays and local anesthesia: Your dentist will take dental X-rays of your teeth to evaluate your oral condition and administer local anesthesia to prepare you for the next step.
- Open the pulp chamber and remove the pulp: Your dentist will open a hole at the tip of your tooth to get access to the inside. Then, the dentist will use extremely small tools to remove the pulp from the chamber and the root canal so he or she can seal it up later with gutta-percha dental fillings.
- Seal up the tooth with dental fillings: Your dentist will put a temporary filling on the access hole to protect the inside of your tooth.
- Place a dental crown: Although you do not have to get a dental crown, it works better to protect your tooth.
Most of the root canal treatment will be performed under local anesthesia, so you are unlikely to feel any pain.
That being said, you may experience a little pain in some cases while your dentist opens the pulp chamber and remove the pulp as the tools touch your nerves. However, this pain will not be serious thanks to the local anesthesia administered at the beginning of the procedure. In some cases, the pain stems from the dentist rather than the procedure itself. Improper techniques and low-quality dental tools may result in pain and gum damage.
After a root canal treatment, tooth pain, sensitivity or weakness are to be expected because the gum tissue may still be swollen or inflamed. Besides, the pain may also be the result of damage caused by dental tools during the procedure. Pain is more likely to occur if the temporary filling patch is not smooth compared to adjacent teeth. If your dentist is not thorough with this step, the newly treated tooth will be higher than the others, resulting in pain while chewing.
Learn about the process of root canal treatment in the following article.
How to relieve pain after root canal treatment
Although you will receive local anesthesia before getting root canal treatment, it is important to practice good dental hygiene to ease off the pain. Below are some tips you can use:
- Take painkillers: You may use an OTC painkiller or ask your dentist to prescribe you stronger pain medication. You should take this pain medication as directed by your dentist and seek medical help if your pain persists or gets worse.
- Avoid chewing with the newly treated tooth: After root canal treatment, your tooth will be much weaker and more prone to be damaged than other teeth. Thus, it is best to avoid chewing or biting with it. If possible, opt for soft or liquid foods to speed up recovery.
- Practice frequent dental hygiene: Take good care of your dental health by flossing and brushing your teeth twice per day.
- Pick a reputable dental clinic for root canal treatment: A reputable clinic with highly experienced dentists and advanced technology will make sure your treatment goes as comfortably as possible. Therefore, do your research on dental clinics carefully before making your decision.
Root canal treatment won’t be too painful if you know how to take care of your teeth, use pain medication, and pick a reputable dental clinic. For a smooth root canal experience, have a look at The East Rose Dental (Old Rose Dental Clinic)’s services!
Read more: How much does root canal treatment cost?