Afraid of Root Canal Pain?
Does it hurt to have a root canal?
In a normal situation, there is no pain with a
root canal. This is the majority of the time. Your dentist will get the
area numb and you should feel very little if anything.
Most patients say that it is much like getting a cavity filled and that the
anticipation is much worse than the actual treatment.
The horror stories about root canal pain are from folks who choose to
ignore their symptoms and do not seek dental attention when their tooth begins to hurt, living with the pain and
symptoms until infection and swelling get out of control. A highly infected tooth is going to hurt no matter
what is done to it.
These days, most dentists and Endodontist prescribe medications to get any
infection under control before a root canal is performed. While you cannot have root canal treatment if you’re
severely swollen to the point where you cannot open your mouth widely, an abscessd tooth needs to be treated as
soon as possible so your body can heal the infection.
Some dentists will begin treatment by draining the abscess first, treating
the tooth with medication, then scheduling the root canal treatment after the infection has
No dentist or Endodontist is going to perform a root canal on you if you are not
numb first. It is a precision procedure. You have to be still and not move around in the dental chair. You must be
numb to accomplish that.
So where did the bad reputation come from? Many people fear the dentist to start
with and associate root canal with pain. Some ignore the warning signs of a problem simply because they do not want
to go to the dentist. The toothache gets worse. It could be something as simple as a dull ache while drinking
something hot or cold. It goes away and is ignored. But, one day, it doesn’t go away. You bite down and get a
shooting pain that seems to go on forever. Or you drink something cold which sends you through the roof.
The key is to get the tooth fixed before the infection swells your jaw to
chipmunk proportions. There are times, however, when it does sneak up on you
seemingly without warning. You could have an unknown fracture in a tooth that widens all of a sudden when you chew.
Ouch! You’ll know it if that happens. Once that fracture reaches the inside nerve of your tooth, you will not be
able to ignore the pain it can cause and will be more than happy to see your dentist or Endodontist at first
A root canal is the answer to your pain, not a cause of it.