Are Root Canals Painful?

Categories: Root Canal Therapy

If the choice ever came down to being audited by the IRS or having a root canal, which would you choose? Root canals are notorious for causing pain and discomfort (although perhaps not as much as the IRS) – but if you have to have a root canal, maybe it’s nothing to worry about after all. Read on for some more information about root canals!

What is a root canal?

A root canal is performed when the pulp of the tooth becomes damaged and infected. The “pulp” is made up of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. It can become damaged if you have a crack or a chip in the tooth (a good reason to get these issues taken care of as soon as possible!), an untreated cavity that has resulted in decay deep down within the tooth, or if you’ve had an injury to the tooth. Even if the top of your tooth (the crown) looks like it is in fine shape, the pulp of the tooth may still be damaged.

Signs that you may need a root canal include swollen gums, sensitivity to hot and cold, discoloration of the tooth, and pain when you chew with or touch the tooth.

Are root canals as painful as everyone says they are?

In recent studies, only 17% of people who have had a root canal have described it as their most painful trip to the dentist. It is actually very similar to getting a filling; however, it will take longer.

The procedure is performed after the patient has had their gums near the tooth numbed. The damaged pulp is removed, and the tooth may be coated with an antibiotic to prevent any further infection. The dentist may cover the tooth with a crown when it is all over.

After the root canal, your mouth will feel tender. Ibuprofen or another over-the-counter medication can help with any discomfort.

Audit or root canal? Hopefully the situation never comes up where you really have to decide! But for a root canal or any other dental issues, at least you know you can count on Pacific Northwest Smiles. Call 425-357-6400 for an appointment today!