smiling male patient in dental chair

How Painful Is a Root Canal?

Patients frequently express anxiety before they are scheduled for a root canal procedure, but the majority find that root canal therapy is much more comfortable than they anticipated. Because root canals are frequently performed to alleviate dental pain, our patients usually leave our office feeling better than when they arrived. If you're not sure what to expect from a root canal treatment, read on to learn more.

How Much Pain to Expect During a Root Canal

Root canal therapy is used to treat inflamed or infected pulp tissue, which may cause severe dental pain, swelling, difficulty eating, and a range of other symptoms. Endodontic treatment is used to relieve this discomfort. With the use of local anesthesia and modern endodontic equipment and techniques, many patients find that having a root canal treatment is no more painful than having a cavity filled. It’s common to feel pressure and movement during a root canal, but the majority of patients are comfortable throughout their appointment. 

Endodontic treatment begins by numbing your tooth and its surrounding tissues using a local anesthetic. The tooth is then opened so that we may access the pulp and remove it. To prevent infection and seal the tooth, the chamber and roots are cleaned, shaped, and disinfected before being filled with a specialized rubber-like material. You’ll go to your general dentist within two weeks of your root canal treatment to have a dental crown or filling placed to restore the tooth structure.

Patients frequently report feeling immediate relief after root canal treatment, particularly if they had been experiencing dental pain in the days or weeks leading up to their appointment. Root canal therapy is a simple and virtually painless way to save a natural tooth, especially when compared to the process of extracting a tooth and replacing it with a dental implant.

Pain After a Root Canal Procedure

You may experience sensitivity and soreness as the local anesthetic wears off in the hours following your root canal treatment. This is especially true if the tooth was infected or if you were experiencing a great deal of pain prior to your root canal procedure.

Over-the-counter pain medications can be used to treat any discomfort, and we will send you home with an information sheet detailing recommended use of these medications following treatment. We recommend eating soft foods and avoiding chewing on the side of the treated tooth until the sensitivity resolves, but you should be able to go back to work, school, and other activities immediately after your treatment.

After root canal therapy, sensitivity and tenderness usually last only a few days. If your discomfort persists after this time, please contact our team so that we can determine whether you need to come to our office for an evaluation.

Learn More About Root Canal Procedures

Has your dentist referred you to our practice for root canal therapy? Do you have questions or concerns about the procedure or what endodontic treatment means? Contact us today to make an appointment for a consultation.