Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that is used to treat infection.
If you’ve never had a root canal procedure, you might be wondering: Do root canals hurt?
In this article, we will explore some key information about root canals, including whether root canals hurt.
So, if you’ve got a problem with your teeth, you can learn more about root canal treatment. Let’s get into it.
What Is A Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal involves a dentist removing the soft centre of the tooth, also known as the pulp.
In most circumstances, a dentist will do the procedure while you’re awake and under local anaesthesia.
When Do You Need A Root Canal?
A root canal is necessary when a dental X-ray shows that the pulp has been damaged by a bacterial infection.
Root canals are necessary when there is an infection at the centre of the tooth and can save a tooth that might otherwise have to be removed completely.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Infection?
There are various symptoms of infection that you should be aware of. These include:
- Pain when you’re chewing or biting
- Pain when you’re eating or drinking cold or hot food and drink
- A loose tooth
As the infection worsens, these symptoms ironically often disappear. This comes down to the fact that the pulp dies.
Your tooth will then feel better and will appear to have healed, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
At this point, the infection has spread through the root canal system. Over time, you will develop further symptoms such as:
- Pain when you’re chewing or biting
- Swollen gums near the affected tooth
- A swollen cheek or jaw
- The tooth getting darker in colour
- Pus coming from the affected tooth
If you develop a toothache, it’s essential to book an appointment with your dentist to get it seen as soon as possible.
If your tooth has become infected, the pulp needs dental attention and won’t heal by itself. As a result, it could get significantly worse if you leave it untreated.
If left untreated for too long, the infection will become too established for a root canal procedure and extracting the tooth will be the only option.
So, if you don’t want to lose a tooth, it’s best to go at the first signs of trouble!
Why Are Root Canal Treatments Necessary?
A root canal is required when the inner part of the tooth called the pulp becomes infected, injured, or inflamed.
The infection at the centre of a tooth is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth.
Failure to remove the infected pulp can increase the risk of you losing the entire tooth, whereas having the root canal treatment is your best chance of preserving the tooth for years to come.
So, how can infection get into your tooth?
This can happen due to various reasons, such as:
- Tooth decay due to an untreated cavity
- Leaky fillings
- A crack or chip in the tooth
- Damage to the teeth as a result of trauma, such as if you’ve been hit in the mouth
Do Root Canals Hurt?
While root canals can cause you discomfort, if they’re done correctly, they shouldn’t hurt you or cause you pain.
This comes down to the fact that your dentist will numb your mouth with local anaesthetic beforehand.
Although the injections to numb your mouth might cause you a little discomfort in the first instance, your mouth will soon be numb, meaning you won’t feel the root canal treatment.
How Is A Root Canal Procedure Performed?
Step One – Anaesthetic
Once the numbing cream begins to work, your dentist will inject a local anaesthetic into your gums.
You might be able to feel a sharp pinch when you are given the anesthetic, but this will soon pass.
Despite the fact that you’ll be awake during the root canal, the anaesthetic will prevent you from feeling any pain.
Step Two – Removing The Damaged Pulp
Once your tooth is numb, the dentist needs to make a small opening in the tooth.
When the damaged or infected pulp is exposed, the dentist can carefully remove the pulp using special files.
This allows them to carefully clean the canals in your tooth.
Step Three – Antibiotics
After the pulp has been removed, the dentist may coat the area with a topical antibiotic to ensure that the infection is gone and to prevent reinfection.
Once the dentist has cleaned and disinfected the canals, the dentist needs to fill and seal the tooth with what is called a root sealer paste.
They also may prescribe you oral antibiotics to take following this.
Step Four – Temporary Filling
The dentist will finish the root canal procedure by filling the small opening in the top of the tooth with a soft, temporary material.
Are There Risks Associated With Root Canal?
A root canal is a last resort, performed in an effort to save the infected tooth.
That being said, if the damage is too deep or the enamel is too frail to withstand the procedure of root canal, then this can lead to the loss of the tooth.
In addition to this, there is potential to develop an abscess at the root of the tooth if the antibiotics aren’t effective or if there’s any leftover infected pulp.
If you’re anxious about getting a root canal procedure, make sure that you talk with your dentist about having the tooth extracted instead.
Root canal treatment is not painful, and your mouth will be sufficiently numbed beforehand.
I hope this article has been helpful and has eased your mind if you have a root canal ahead of you.
Following a strict hygiene routine and limiting the amount of sugar that you eat is the best way to prevent cavities.
It’s essential to contact your dentist if you develop toothache, as sorting the problem out sooner rather than later will give you the best chance of saving your tooth.
Good luck getting your root canal.
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