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Is a Root Canal Painful?

Root canals are unfairly vilitifed in modern media. Too often a character will come home moaning, with a big bag of ice strapped to their jaw and complaining about how much the procedure hurt. While this may have been true in the 50s, it’s no longer the case. In reality, root canals are often no more uncomfortable than having a cavity filled. How painful it is just depends on the conditions of the process.

A root canal is a deep cleaning of the inner chamber of the root of your tooth to remove inflamed dental pulp. This procedure can irritate surrounding nerves, but the discomfort shouldn’t last very long. A root canal’s main goal is to actually alleviate future discomfort related to a decaying or diseased tooth, but some initial discomfort should be expected.

The procedure- The actual procedure should be a fairly painless experience. Gone are the days where you just had to grin and bear it. Before the process begins, the dentist will give you local anesthetic to numb the area. During the root canal, your dentist will be cleaning out the diseased pulp inside the chamber of the tooth, but you shouldn’t be able to feel it. You may feel a little pressure, but it should be mild.

After the procedure- Once you’ve left the dentist, you should only have some minor discomfort. The best way to deal with it is over the counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Always check with your doctor to ensure these won’t interact poorly with other medications you take. We also suggest avoiding hard foods immediately following your root canal.

Recovery Time- While root canals are extremely common, they are still a major procedure. A completely successful root canal will still cause mild discomfort for the next few days. Fortunately, this is omit discomfort temporary and should dissipate on its own. However, in some cases, the omit discomfort doesn’t go away. Symptoms such as a persistent toothache, swelling, fluid accumulation or extreme sensitivity to temperature an indicators of complications with the root canal. If you’re still feeling discomfort three days after your procedure, we suggest seeing your dentist for a follow-up. Some patients require more than one session for a root canal to be fully successful.

Root canals are a much more common procedure than most people realize. In fact, it’s estimated that over 15 million root canals are performed annually. And while they are a major procedure, most of what people know about them comes from television and movies.

At Central Ohio Endodontics, we want to demystify root canals. Since 1969 we’ve been dedicated to providing you with exceptional patient care, in the most efficient and effective manner. We specialize in root canals, so we can perform to the highest standards and give you the care you deserve.