Do Root Canals Hurt?

One of the most common questions when it comes to a root canal is whether or not it hurts. Chances are, you know someone who has had a wisdom tooth removed, and they usually have to deal with some level of pain during the healing process. So do root canals hurt? Drs. Ber and Gaudet answer:

After all, it’s tunneling into the tooth itself and not just extracting it from the gums. If you’ve been informed you need to undergo a root canal, you’re likely already in some kind of pain.

Whether it is constant, when the tooth is touched, or when something hot or cold interacts with the tooth, it’s a pain you’d like to go away. Before you head to the dental office for your root canal, here is what you need to know about whether or not the procedure hurts.

Prepping for the Procedure

The short answer to whether a root canal hurts is no. It is not a painful procedure. With that being said, there can be some moments of pain, however, these moments are few and far between.

When you arrive at the dental office, whether it is a general dentist or an endodontist’s office, you will be prepped for the procedure. It’s no different than any other dentist visit at this point. You’ll sit in your chair and have the bib placed around your neck.

Because the procedure requires going into the tooth, some local anesthesia will be used. Typically, this is done in the form of an injection around the gums near your affected tooth. The injection may cause slight discomfort, but many do not even notice it. You don’t see the needle pressed against the gums, so it doesn’t have the same visual stimulation as receiving a vaccination. The feeling isn’t that different from when an instrument is pressed against your gums during a dental cleaning.

Usually, this is all that is required to numb your tooth and gums. Once the local anesthesia is injected and the procedure begins, you won’t feel anything. You will hear some minor drilling, which for some people can be uncomfortable, but there is no pain.

Following the Procedure

Following the procedure, you can expect some mild to moderate pain or soreness in the area after a root canal. As your tooth takes time to heal, the area around still might feel a bit sore or tender when chewing for a few days.  

Now, if pain eventually returns to the tooth in the coming weeks, it might be because some nerve endings were missed or some kind of bacteria has begun to develop within the tooth. Should this happen, you will need to schedule another appointment with your dentist or endodontic specialist.

To reduce the chances of you ever needing a second root canal on the same tooth, our staff here at Southern Endodontic Specialists use a device known as GentleWave. This is a specialized device designed specifically for root canals. It’s also why scheduling your root canal with an endodontist is desirable. A general dentist only has so much space for equipment in the office, and they need to invest in an assortment of equipment, so they might not have the latest, most innovative root canal equipment.

With GentleWave, the technology uses a combination of sound waves, water, and other irrigants to thoroughly clean out the tooth, which clears out the dead nerve endings and bacteria.

Select Cases

Now, there are some individuals who do not handle going to the dentist very well. Sometimes the sound of the procedure is too much for them to handle, and they become uncomfortable during the procedure. If this is the case, we may decide to administer an anti-anxiety medication prior to the procedure. This way, the patient can be more relaxed during the procedure. It can be difficult for a dentist or endodontist to perform a root canal on a patient who is very anxious.

If you are an individual that experiences this kind of dentist-related stress, you can discuss your options with either the dentist or the endodontist during the initial consultation of the root canal. You can go over your options with the expert and discuss the possibility of additional anti-anxiety measures.

Ideally, the local numbing agent will be all that is required, but dentists and endodontists fully understand that some individuals simply do not like visiting a dental office and become uncomfortable during the process. Do not worry, as you will be taken care of.

Schedule Your Root Canal With a Specialist Today

The best way to avoid the need for a second root canal is to schedule your root canal with an endodontist. Here at Southern Endodontic Specialists, we focus on the health of your teeth, and root canals are a procedure we perform daily. This allows us to not only have greater practice in performing a root canal, but we can invest in specialized equipment that ensures improved results. 

So, whether your general dentist has told you to schedule with us or you’d like to hand the procedure off to an endodontist, our staff is here to help. All you need to do is give our staff at Southern Endodontic Specialists a call or schedule an appointment directly through our website.