What Is a Root Canal Treatment? Is It Painful?

Categories: Miscellaneous

A root canal treatment is a routine service that is meant to save your tooth and relieve the pain of an infection. Many people expect it to be painful because this type of service was difficult many decades ago. But today, it feels the same as many other procedures, thanks to sedation dentistry and anesthesia. 

How Does a Root Canal Treatment Work? 

Each tooth has a root, which is the part of the tooth that stays out of sight and connects to the jawbone. Inside of this root, there is a space called the root canal. It holds: 

  • Blood vessels. 
  • Nerves. 
  • Other tissues. 

Together, these are called the “pulp.” When the pulp gets infected by bacteria, it can swell up and cause a terrible toothache. 

This is what we relieve with a root canal treatment. Your dentist or endodontist will: 

  • Give you local anesthesia (with optional extra dental sedation, if you need it).
  • Gain access to the root canal by creating a tiny hole. 
  • Use tools to clean the pulp out. 
  • Use a disinfectant to kill any remaining bacteria.
  • Fill the root canal with a protective substance. 
  • Close the tooth and protect it from further infection. 

Remember, modern anesthesia prevents any pain. You can relax, watch TV, and just wait until it’s over. 

Is Recovery from a Root Canal Painful?

You may need to manage some tenderness and discomfort after the procedure, just like you would with many other types of dental services. We’ll give you tips and instructions on how to stay as comfortable as possible while you recover. 

If you expect to have mild to moderate soreness in the tooth area, you’ll be ready to manage it. The gums and other tissues around a tooth experience some movement during the procedure. This can make them tender, which takes time to heal and recover from. Also, your jaw might become a little sore from being open longer than usual during your treatment.

If we tell you that you will soon need a crown or filling placed on the tooth, we’ll give you instructions on how to eat, drink, and brush without damaging your tooth until the tooth is fully restored.

If your pain suddenly increases—and it disrupts your ability to live a normal life—that’s because there’s something wrong, and you should call us right away. We can take quick steps to relieve the cause of the problem. But complications are rare.

GentleWave Reduces Pain

In addition to modern anesthesia, the GentleWave system also reduces post-treatment discomfort from root canals. It also cleans out a tooth more thoroughly, and reduces the need for persistent infections and re-treatments. 

Traditional root canal treatments use metal tools to manually remove infected tissues from the tooth. But GentleWave: 

  • Sends a cleaning fluid into every tiny crevice of a root canal. 
  • Enhances the cleaning with high-frequency sound waves. 
  • Reduces discomfort by putting less pressure on the tooth and surrounding tissues.
  • Is unlikely to damage the walls of the tooth. 
  • Can be completed quickly. 
  • Successfully cleans root canal chambers that have unusual shapes and small passages.

We can usually completely finish your root canal treatment in one appointment with very little chance of re-treatment needed.

Root Canals: Relieving Pain and Infection

Remember, the real cause of pain is the infection inside a tooth. A root canal treatment actually leads to relief, because we clean the infection out and seal the tooth against later infections. Plus, the GentleWave system can make this procedure even easier on the tooth structure and surrounding tissues, helping you recover even more quickly. 

However, if you were to experience severe pain after a root canal treatment, you can tell your dentist or endodontist right away. We will find the cause and repair it immediately. Stay in touch, and we’ll make sure that your natural tooth is healthy, safe, and pain-free for many years.

Contact Dr. Stubbs today if you have a toothache or other problem that requires a root canal.