Does root canal treatment hurt?

Worried about pain? Let's talk about root canal treatments.

Root canal treatment is a common procedure needed when dental infection reaches the pulp chamber of a tooth. Unfortunately, it also has a reputation as a particularly painful process.

The good news is that modern dentistry has come a long way in mitigating the pain and fear of dental treatment, including root canals. If you need to undergo root canal treatment, there's no need to worry about pain – the team at City Dentists will help you feel comfortable and make the procedure virtually pain-free.

Will you experience pain during a root canal treatment?

You'll feel little-to-no pain during your root canal treatment, thanks to modern anaesthetic.

Root canal treatment is generally performed in order to treat severe pain caused by pulp inflammation or infection. The procedure involves drilling into the tooth using a fine endodontic file and cleaning infected pulp from the root canal. This may sound particularly daunting, especially if you've not experienced much dental work previously. However, there are measures that will be taken to reduce the potential for pain.

Before your surgery, your dentist will apply some local anaesthetic to the gums around the infected tooth. You might feel a slight sting during the application, as it must be administered by injection. This should pass within a few seconds as the anaesthetic kicks in.

The anaesthetic should numb the area around your tooth, meaning you feel little-to-no pain during the procedure. 

If you experience heightened levels of dental anxiety, it's important to discuss this with your dentist, as they may be able to offer sedation dentistry. In this case, your dentist will inject a sedative medication into a vein in your arm, which will help to relax you. You will remain conscious and able to respond to everything around you, but you're unlikely to remember much about the treatment.

Modern dentistry had developed to mean root canal treatment is virtually pain-free.Modern dentistry had developed to mean root canal treatment is virtually pain-free.

What to expect after your root canal treatment

Mild inflammation is normal after a root canal treatment, but shouldn't last for more than a few days.

It's not uncommon to feel sensitivity or discomfort for a few days following your root canal treatment, but there shouldn't be any severe pain. This will most likely be due to the tissue surrounding the tooth in question being slightly swollen. 

While your dentist will remove the nerve from your tooth during the root canal treatment, there are many other nerve endings in your gums. The procedure can cause your gums to become inflamed as a means of your body protecting itself or reacting to agitation. This inflammation is normal and should go away within a few days.

Your dentist will most likely recommend over-the-counter painkillers to reduce any discomfort, or may prescribe a specific medication. After the sensitivity has passed, the tooth may continue to feel a somewhat different – this is also normal.

If pain continues beyond a few days, or is particularly severe, it's important to inform your dentist as soon as possible.

Root canal treatment is often more or less pain-free, thanks to modern dentistry technology. However, it's common to feel mild discomfort as you recover. Nevertheless, you will experience far less pain from root canal treatment than you would by allowing tooth decay to thrive.

If you have any questions about root canal treatment, or simply wish to book a dental check-up, schedule an appointment online or call City Dentists on 04 978 4964 today.