After suffering from an annoying toothache for several days, you finally saw your dentist. They examined your mouth and said that in order to save your tooth, you’ll need to get a root canal. Curious to learn more about this procedure, you search for it online, only to find horror story after horror story. By far the most pervasive idea about root canal therapy is that it hurts. Searching for “are root canals painful?” brings up mixed results. To set the record straight, we’ve decided to answer that question in this blog post.
What Exactly Are Root Canals?
Most of the time, your dentist can detect a cavity early enough that it can be treated with a filling. If you wait too long to get that filling, though, the decay could reach the center of your tooth, called the pulp. Once a cavity reaches the nerves inside the pulp, it can result in an excruciating toothache. At this point, the pulp must be removed to prevent the infection from spreading. That’s where root canal therapy comes in.
During this procedure, the pulp is taken out and the inside of the tooth is sanitized. After the pulp is replaced with a synthetic material, the tooth is restored with a dental crown to protect against future damage.
Are Root Canals Painful?
In most cases, getting a root canal isn’t painful. Many patients compare it to getting a filling. The pain that people associate with root canals likely comes from the intense toothache caused by the infection that warrants the procedure.
Thanks to local anesthetic, you shouldn’t feel any discomfort during your root canal.
What to Expect After Getting a Root Canal
The numbness typically wears off a few hours later. You can expect some minor soreness at this point, which is why it’s best to take an over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen, as soon as you get home. Holding a cold compress to your cheek in 10-minute intervals can also diminish pain as well as curb potential swelling. The discomfort should subside within a week at most. If your tooth is still hurting after that, call your dentist right away, as something might be wrong.
So, are root canals painful? With modern dental techniques and technology, the answer is usually no. In fact, it should relieve your toothache by removing the hurting nerve. Additionally, it can save you time and money that you would otherwise spend getting the tooth extracted and replaced. If your dentist says you need a root canal, you should have nothing to fear.
About the Practice
Each of our three dentists at Mt. Holly Family Dentistry takes the time to get to know our patients, address their concerns, and explain every treatment. We understand that some patients may be hesitant to undergo root canal therapy, so we make sure you’re comfortable before going through with it. We also welcome dental emergencies, so if you’re experiencing a terrible toothache, feel free to contact our office at (609) 267-3230.