How painful is a root canal

You naturally wonder how painful is a root canal.  The procedure is commonly associated with excruciating pain.  Actually while some discomfort is usual during and after a root canal, excessive pain is unusual.  Anesthetics and other modern technology makes the procedure quick and safe.

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Root canal pain

Of course root canal pain is a real thing.  It is important to better understand root canal pain myths.  Myths are common about pain before, during, and after a root canal.  This information will help you make a plan for your dental treatment.

How painful is a root canal

3 Root canal pain Myths

Myth 1: Root canal procedures are painful

Today a root canal is about as painful as getting a regular cavity filling.  Patients report feeling pressure but not pain.

Myth 2: Root canals cause disease

There is information on the internet and elsewhere that root canals cause illness.  According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) this story started in the 1920’s.  It started with a dentist named Dr. Weston A. Price and has no scientific basis.

You can feel confident about your health when deciding to have a root canal.  Of course feel free to ask your dental professional any questions you have about your procedure.

Myth 3:  It’s better to pull a tooth than have a root canal

According to the AAE it is better to keep your own tooth if possible.  A tooth repaired with a root canal has a high success rate and may last a lifetime.  Replacing an extracted tooth (pulled tooth) with a bridge or implant has its own set of unknowns.  Possibilities include the need for further treatment to surrounding teeth and gums.

Your dental professional can do a dental exam.  This information can be used to provide the options for your particular situation.

3 root canal pain myths

Prior to treatment

It is well known how painful a root canal is prior to treatment.  The pain is often described as throbbing and could also be sharp, achy, or dull.   By any description the pain can be tremendous.  Most people report root canal pain is greatest prior to treatment, even worse than during treatment.

Not all tooth pain is caused by an infection requiring a root canal.
Here are 3 types of pain indicating a root canal procedure may be needed:

  1. Sharp pain when eating or biting down on the tooth
  2. Tooth pain and sensitivity to hot or cold
  3. Tender gums surrounding the tooth

Medication for root canal pain may be taken prior to your treatment.  Your dentist may recommend a pain reliever that reduces inflammation such as Ibuprofen.

Antibiotics may also be needed.  The particulars of your infection will determine the need.   Ask your dentist what medication you should take when you make an appointment.

Root canal pain before treatment

During your procedure

Your dental professional will use anesthesia during your procedure.  The local anesthetic commonly used is lidocaine.  This will numb your teeth so you will feel little to no pain.   People report it is about like getting a filling.

Typically a root canal will take longer than a filling to complete.  Still, patients report the experiences are similar.  Many patients actually report that their root canal procedure was “painless”.

Pain after a root canal

Now we consider how painful is a root canal after the procedure.  It is common to feel some tenderness in the gums, or possibly mild to moderate discomfort for a few days.
There are a few reasons for the pain after a root canal:

  1. The tissue and gums around the tooth are inflamed.  The nerves from inside the tooth’s pulp are removed during the root canal, yet the ligaments and nerves in the surrounding tissue remain.  This connective tissue is irritated and may take three days to heal.
  2. Instrument damage. The instruments used during the procedure commonly irritate the surrounding tissue.  This also requires a few days to heal.
  3. High temporary filling. Sometimes the filling used to secure the root canal is even slightly higher than the surrounding teeth.  This additional height will cause pressure to be applied to the already sensitive tooth.  This situation requires your dental professional to smooth down the tooth.

In general, there may be mild to moderate discomfort for a few days after a root canal.  Click to learn more about tooth pain after root canal.  Severe pain is an indication that something may need attention and you should contact a dentist immediately.

Pain after a root canal

How painful?

How painful is a root canal?  It’s a simple question with a long answer.  Pain prior to root canal treatment is often excruciating and sharp.  Nevertheless, the pain during the procedure has been described as about the same as a dental filling or even painless.  Complaints are especially rare for a front tooth.  The pain after a root canal should be no worse than mild to moderate discomfort.

Don’t suffer a painful root canal, get it fixed.  It really can get better with treatment.  The root canal pain during the procedure should not stop you from receiving the treatment you need.

Have tooth pain and are thinking to yourself how painful is a root canal?  A proper dental exam by a dental professional is the way to diagnose your situation.  Make an appointment immediately.