Is a root canal painful?
A lot of people feel pain only by hearing someone say "I need a root canal"! But is it true that a root canal treatment is a very stressful and painful procedure?
Having a root canal can be as comfortable as having fillings
No it is not. A root canal is done under local anaesthesia which is very efficient in blocking pain. The procedure lasts between one and a few hours, and the dentist injects enough anaesthetics beforehand so that the patient will be at rest the whole time. Root canal becomes as comfortable as doing fillings.
But why do people associate it with pain? There are two reasons for that. Years ago, local anaesthesia was not as effective as it is today and people could have felt pain during the procedure. The other reason is that sometimes a tooth has a very painful abscess before it needs a root canal, and people associate that pain with the procedure, even though the treatment was done by numbing the tooth first and no pain was felt.
If a tooth is abscessed, the root canal could not always be done right away because local anaesthesia may not work properly. That's why the dentist could choose to prescribe antibiotics first and do the root canal another day.
It is normal that mild pain could be perceived after the root canal procedure is completed. It may last from a few days to a few weeks. The dentist might advise to take painkillers if needed so that the patient is comfortable.
What if a root canal is done properly but a person still feels pain. There may then be another problem. The tooth can be cracked or there are hidden canals in the root that the dentist or endodontist couldn't find.
The information above should be used as a reference only. Any medical decision should not be done before consulting a health care professional.
The masculine gender has been used without prejudice to make reading easier.
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