How Painful Is Root Canal?

There are many rumours about this treatment, but how true are they?

We can almost guarantee that the phrase most likely to cause a horrified expression on a patient’s face are those needing a root canal operation to save a tooth from decay and inflammation. Those who have previously experienced them are less likely to be concerned because they are aware of how the procedure actually feels. First-timers, on the other hand, may only have facts gathered from popular mythology.

For many years, a root canal treatment has been used as a pain standard in films, books, and everyday life. Most of us have heard people say things like “I’d rather have a root canal procedure” when talking about something they don’t like. This suggests that, despite the great discomfort they anticipate, it is still preferable than something they hate.

How much of what people say about this treatment is true? Let our dentists in Blessing Dental Care explain below. 

A Brief History of Root Canal Treatment

To fully understand the ‘pain mythology,’ consider the historical use of this process to treat toothache and save teeth from decay. Some of you may be surprised to learn that primitive forms of endodontic (root canal) therapy were carried out in ancient times, and archaeological excavations in India and Egypt have supported this theory. We can’t even imagine how awful that must have been for the patients without modern anesthesia to numb the pain.

It wasn’t until the turn of the century that things began to improve, notably in endodontic techniques to relieve toothache and save teeth. In addition to improved equipment and knowledge, there were two major improvements in dentistry that transformed this from what had to be an extremely painful process to one that was tolerable and that saved a tooth from extraction.

The most obvious example of these innovations is the use of anaesthetics, particularly local anaesthetics. This allowed the patient to receive treatment in relative comfort while also making it easier for the dentist to perform the procedure without the patient moving around in pain.

The second breakthrough was the use of x-rays. While local anaesthesia is an evident improvement, we believe that x-rays were as important.  While no one knows for certain how it earned its painful reputation, it is usually assumed that it was due to the existence of an abscess or severe decay at the time of treatment. Abscesses are prevalent when root canals get infected and, if undetected, would have caused severe discomfort if it came into contact with the dental drill.

As a result, x-rays are often taken before a root canal operation at Blessing Dental Care. It enables us to determine whether or not an abscess or pulp decay is present, crucial for planning the appropriate dental procedure. Otherwise, the procedure can proceed as scheduled. If one is present, it will be treated first, and the root canal operation will be postponed until you are abscess-free. This avoids the most likely scenario that would result in extreme discomfort for the person.

What Really Causes Pain During a Root Canal Procedure

When people need this treatment, both x-rays and local anesthetics are used. What is the truth about any pain that might be felt?

We’re not going to act like people should be thrilled when they hear they need this endodontic treatment to save their tooth. Any dental treatment that goes deep into the gums is likely to hurt in some way, especially if the tooth pulp is inflamed, requiring careful handling to preserve oral health. Most of the time, this isn’t really pain, but rather the sensations that come from drilling, manually removing infected tissue, or feeling pressure when fillings are safely in place to save your tooth. You won’t feel any pain from these, but patients often worry that they will be in pain “any second now,” as if the dentist is going to go just a bit too far. Of course, the truth is that the local anaesthetic would stop the pain even if there were to be some. Furthermore, dentists study and practice for years to be able to do procedures like this, so you can be sure that you are in great hands with the experienced staff at Blessing Dental Care.

Anxious Patients

We know that a lot of people are frightened about going to the dentist and being told that you need this treatment probably won’t make things better. Making sure that those who are afraid of the dentist get this important treatment is always something we think about when we help them. We’re always happy to talk about treatments with you so that you know what to expect, but if you’d rather not know anything, we’re also happy to make the conversation as short as possible. No matter what, we always do our best to make sure our patients are as numb and relaxed as possible during their treatments.

At Blessing Dental Care, we do both Regular Dental Treatments and Cosmetic Treatments, focusing on preserving oral health and treating decay. 

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