A root canal treatment is notorious for being unpleasant and painful. If your orthodontist has recommended a root canal treatment for your tooth it is natural to feel doubtful or apprehensive. The truth is that root canal treatment involves the use of local anesthesia. And so you won’t feel any pain during the root canal procedure. Do root canals hurt or if you feel the pain a few days after the treatment, but that is manageable with medicines. The critical thing to remember is that the root canal treatment can help remove the decay, quell your toothache and restore your natural tooth.
How Do You Know You Need a Root Canal?
The best way to determine whether you need a root canal is to visit your dentist and get their opinion. However, some telltale symptoms usually mean that your tooth may be decayed and needs root canal treatment. Here’s a look at the symptoms
Persistent Tooth Pain
If you have a toothache that keeps coming back, it maybe a sign that you need a root canal. Sometimes, the pain can even be felt in your jaw or your face. Consult your dentist to know the source of the pain.
Tooth sensitivity refers to the shooting or throbbing pain in your teeth when you bite into a cold ice cream or sip a hot cup of coffee. Sensitive teeth are a result of nerve damage due to tooth decay. If you have tooth sensitivity, you may need a root canal treatment.
An injury to your tooth or jaw may lead to a breakdown of the blood vessels inside the tooth. Usually, such an injury can give your tooth a grayish-black tinge or discoloration. It could be a symptom of infection within the tooth; talk to your dentist about the discoloration.
Swelling or Sensitive Gums
Gums that are sensitive to touch or show signs of swelling; it may be because the underlying tissues are infected. A dentist can investigate the problem with an x-ray to determine if you need a root canal.
Pain to the Touch
Just like tooth sensitivity, if your tooth hurts to touch it could be a sign of nerve damage or decay.
How Long do Root Canal Treatments Take?
A root canal treatment takes between sixty to ninety minutes, depending on the case’s complexity. Usually, your dentist will divide the treatment into two or three sittings to complete.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
Depending on the extent and complexity of your infection, the dentist may have a different approach to your treatment. However, the general procedure is the same. Here is a look at the step-by-step process of the treatment:
- The endodontic takes an x-ray of the tooth to determine the extent of infection and the procedure’s viability. You may need a different treatment if the infection has spread to other regions.
- If your tooth needs a root canal treatment, the dentist will numb your infected tooth, gums and the surrounding area with a local anesthetic.
- The dentist makes a small opening in your tooth to access the affected pulp. They remove the infected blood vessels, sensitized nerves and bacteria in your tooth using special tools.
- Then they clean the canals of your tooth and coat the infected area with antibiotics to prevent infection.
- In the end, the dentist fills and seals your tooth. They may prescribe oral antibiotics and pain medications to avoid pain after a root canal.
Do Root Canals Hurt? Is The Procedure Painful?
FACT: The pain is due to the infection
Root canal treatment is designed to be painless. As discussed, the procedure starts by numbing the tooth to prevent pain. However, before the root canal, your infected tooth may be hurt due to the decay. The root canal helps save your natural tooth and stops the pain. Usually, teeth that receive root canal treatment are thoroughly decayed and may cause severe toothaches.
MYTH: It is painful to have a root canal
It is incorrect to assume that a root canal is a painful procedure. Before starting the treatment, your dentist will numb your infected tooth, nearby gums and surrounding areas of the mouth with a local anesthetic. You will feel pressure as the dentist cleans your tooth, but you will not feel any pain. Sometimes, you may feel tooth pain after the root canal. You must take the prescribed medicines and follow all the aftercare instructions to manage the pain.
MYTH BUSTER: Treatment is meant to relieve the pain
Root canal treatment aims to restore your natural tooth and relieve any pain you feel due to the decay. During the treatment, the local anesthetic keeps the pain at bay. After the treatment also, if needed, the dentist will prescribe medicines for pain relief.
Can You Avoid a Root Canal?
Usually, a root canal is recommended for deeply infected teeth. The procedure has a high success rate, with 90 to 95% of the patients experiencing relief from toothaches and getting a functional tooth that lasts for many years.
It is not advisable to avoid a root canal. If the infected tooth is not treated on time, the infection may spread, and the tooth will need to be extracted. After extraction, the empty spot needs to be replaced, which is a much more complicated process?
How Long Does a Root Canal Take to Heal?
Do root canals hurt? Yes, you may feel tooth pain after the root canal is completed. It is also customary to feel swelling or tenderness in your teeth for two or three days after the treatment.
Maintaining good oral hygiene and care is possible to prevent a root canal. However, if your doctor has recommended an RCT, it is not the end of the world. Consulting your dentist and regularly visiting for oral health checkups can help you with the overall diagnostic and treatment.
If you reside in Salem, MA, or a nearby area, Book your appointment or Contact Us at 978-607-0110.
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.