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There is no reason to fear root canal pain, because today’s treatments are more advanced than ever. Root canal treatment probably has a bad reputation because of the pain that is caused in its lead-up. After all, a badly damaged or decayed tooth can cause severe pain. The purpose of your root canal treatment is to clean out and remove the source of the infection in order to save your tooth. Once that has happened, you should not experience pain.


What Is Root Canal Treatment And Why Is It Done?

A root canal therapy will be performed if your tooth is badly damaged or decayed. During the procedure your dentist will remove the pulp of your tooth if it damaged or infected and then clean out the inside before sealing it shut.

Before you have the root canal you have probably experienced intense pain, and that is because there are nerves inside your tooth pulp. Any infection or damage will cause pain. When the source of that pain is removed however, you can expect some pain relief.


What Does It Feel Like?

Most patients compare root canal treatment pain to having a filling.


What Can You Expect From The Root Canal Procedure?

First your dentist will take an x-ray of your tooth. The x-ray will show how your canals are shaped and whether the infection has spread into the bone below your tooth.

Then, your dentist will use general anaesthetic to numb the area. Strictly speaking, it is not always necessary to use anaesthetic because in many cases the nerve is already dead. Even so, most dentists will still anaesthetise you first.

Once you are satisfied that you can’t feel anything, your dentist will drill a hole into your tooth. Then he or she will extract your tooth pulp, including the bacteria and any debris.

Your dentist will use special instruments to manually clean the inside of your root canals. Any debris is flushed away. If there is an infection, your dentist might put some medication inside your tooth. If not, your dentist may seal your tooth on the same day. Your dentist will also need to place a filling in your tooth, in the area that was drilled into.

root canal pain

What Can You Expect After Root Canal Therapy?

Most patients experience pain relief after root canal therapy. You will be advised to chew on the other side of your mouth until your permanent filling has been placed.

If necessary you may take over-the-counter pain medication.

Remember to maintain excellent dental hygiene, and to follow all the care instructions your dentist gives you.

Some patients have also reported the following side effects after a root canal therapy:


Swollen or inflamed gums

Remember that there are also nerves inside the tissue and ligaments that surround your tooth. And even if the nerve inside the tooth has been removed, these nerve endings will register the discomfort. Sometimes root canal treatment pain is felt through these nerves.


Pain from a temporary filling

If you have had a temporary filling placed while you wait for an infection to heal and it is not smoothed down enough it can cause some pain when you bite down.


Damage from dental instruments

It has happened that a dental instrument has caused some damage to the tissue during the cleaning process.


How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Root Canal?

Most patients report that they have recovered a few days after their root canal. If you experience worsening pain, or a different pain-sensation that starts a few days after your root canal therapy it could be a sign that your root canal has failed.

While the majority of procedures are successful it is possible for root canal failure to take place for a number of reasons:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Further decay of the tooth or a weakening of the material used to seal your tooth
  • Your restoration has started leaking
  • A curved root canal or an obstruction, so your canal was not cleaned out completely
  • An additional canal that your dentist didn’t see

In the event that your pain is caused by a canal your dentist didn’t see, your tooth will need to be reopened in order to find and clean the canal.

  • A vertical fracture in your tooth

In this instance, your dentist may have to remove your tooth.


Concerns about root canal pain should not deter you from treatment. If you are worried about pain, please chat with your friendly Good Choice dentist about pain management options – we’re here to help. Please call us: (02) 8203 8760.


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