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Is it Normal To Experience Root Canal Pain?

So, you’ve just been told that you need a root canal. Relax, there’s no need to panic.

Most people associate a root canal with pain. However, while there is slight discomfort during and after root canal treatment, pain should never normally be excessive.

Thankfully, modern technology coupled with the use of anaesthesia make this procedure relatively quick, comfortable, and a great way of preserving a natural tooth.

In this post, we discuss what a root canal is, what happens during the procedure, and what you can expect in terms of pain or discomfort.


Firstly, what is a root canal?

Root canal therapy (more commonly known as ‘a root canal’) is a procedure that’s designed to preserve a failing or dead tooth. Often, by the time a root canal is suggested, the tooth has died from damage to the inner pulp or alternatively, it’s so badly infected that it can’t repair itself.

You’re probably wondering why you would want to keep a dead tooth in your mouth. Why not have it extracted?

Well, you could, but then you’d need to replace it with a dental implant to fill the empty void left in your jaw, along with a dental crown to fill the gap in your smile.

The main reason for getting a root canal is that it’s far simpler to keep your natural tooth, albeit a dead tooth. Why?

Because having the tooth inside your mouth helps you to better chew your food and maintain that all-important dentition.

Now, getting back to the matter of root canal pain ….

If you’re feeling tooth pain now, then chances are that it’s the infection causing it. Rather than suffer from tooth ache for days or even weeks while you put off root canal treatment, you should know that undergoing root canal therapy can instantly ease any discomfort felt.


Root canal treatment pain – what to expect

Your No Gaps dentist will ensure you are feeling as comfortable and relaxed as possible before starting the procedure. You’ll be given an anaesthetic to numb the area so during the procedure itself, you shouldn’t feel any pain. To help, you might want to wear some earphones and listen to some music during this part, to distract yourself.

root canal treatment pain root canal pain no gaps dental sydneyThe procedure starts by removing all inflamed or infected pulp.

The inside of the tooth is thoroughly washed out and the interior is shaped before filling and sealing the space to prevent infection.

Depending upon the extent of the root canal problem, this may be done over a couple of visits but each case is different.

Removing the inside of the tooth weakens it, leaving it dry, brittle and more prone to fracture. This is why in most cases; you’ll need to return to have a crown fitted. A dental crown sits over the whole of the tooth and provides additional strength and protection.

Once your crown is fitted, your tooth will perform just like all of your other teeth and you’ll be able to bite on it, chew and eat your food as normal.


How much pain is normal?

You’ve undergone a major procedure so it’s only natural to feel a little tender or sensitive for a few days following root canal treatment. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The gums surrounding the tooth are still inflamed or swollen – Even though the tooth root has been removed, small ligaments and nerves remain present in the surrounding soft tissue. When this area is inflamed after a dental treatment such as this, patients may experience slight discomfort from the nerves.
  • High filling – It may be that the filling in the tooth is a fraction higher than the tooth itself, and this can cause slight discomfort or temporary pain when biting on that spot.
  • Dental instrument damage – It’s also possible that a dental instrument used to scrape out the infected pulp inadvertently damaged the sensitive tissue surrounding it.

In most cases, any discomfort or sensitivity associated with root canal treatment should fade within a few days.

If it doesn’t get any better, then it’s always best to re-visit your dentist for an evaluation.


How soon do I need to get my root canal done?

It’s important to get it done as soon as you possibly can. Waiting will only cause more pressure or infection. You may develop a bad taste in your mouth and feelings of numbness. Even worse, any infection could spread to vulnerable tissues such as your lungs or heart. This is why people used to die from tooth infections hundreds of years ago.

While it’s fair to say that death is unlikely to happen in the 21st century, it’s still important to seek help right away. If you are suffering from tooth ache or have been told you need a root canal, then get in touch with No Gaps Dental to make an appointment. Our experienced dentists practise gentle dentistry and do all they can to make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

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