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Does a Root Canal Hurt?

August 20, 2013

Filed under: Sage Blog — Tags: — Dr. Terry Batliner @ 8:35 pm

There is no hurt like a root canal hurt. At least that’s what most people think.  In fact, they have a terrible reputation. “I’d rather have a root canal” is what you say when something you have to do is so bad that you would rather endure the torture of a root canal.

The reality is that for most people, having a root canal is no more stressful than getting a filling done. With today’s technology, most patients come away impressed with how fast and easy the procedure is. And most importantly, how pain free they are, both during and afterwards.

It is very likely that the dread around having a root canal is more related to the pain in the tooth that caused it. In most cases, the symptoms that point to a root canal is a very painful tooth ache.

If you have a very infected or abscessed tooth, when you bite down on it, it will hurt like crazy. So even thinking of a dentist touching the tooth, much less drilling on it, would be the last thing a patient would want. The reality is that infections are usually handled with antibiotics before the root canal and anesthetic virtually ensures a pain-free procedure.

Despite their bad reputations, our patients are often so relieved to have had the root canal therapy, because their tooth pain went away.   Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last a lifetime.

What is Involved?

You’ll get a topical anesthetic (numbing gel) and our dentists go out of their way to make the administration of the anesthesia comfortable. After that, you won’t feel anything as he removes the infected pulp and nerves out of the tooth.

Root canal therapies can differ based on individual circumstances, which our dentists will cover well ahead of time with you. Sometimes, more than one visit will still be necessary depending on the level of infection, the tooth structure, etc.

There may be sensitivity due to natural tissue inflammation for a few days after the procedure especially if there was a lot of pain and infection before.  Over-the-counter medications and prescribed antibiotics will almost always take care of it in a day or two. Most people return to normal activities the next day.
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