Do root canals hurt? You may think this is a dumb question – after all, root canals are famous for how painful they are and how people will do anything to avoid them. Let’s take a look at root canals, what they are, how important they are to your oral health, and if they deserve their painful reputation.
What is a root canal?
A tooth that is cracked or chipped, has a cavity that has gone untreated, or a tooth that has been injured and damaged may end up with tooth pulp that is infected. The “pulp” is the tissue inside your teeth, and it is made up of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The crown of your tooth (the top) may look fine, but the pulp may still be infected.
A root canal is done to get rid of this damaged pulp. Your dentist will numb your gums and remove the pulp. Your tooth will be coated with an antibiotic to fight off infection, and then your tooth will be covered with a crown.
You may need a root canal if your tooth is painful when you touch it or use it to chew, if it is discolored, if you are suddenly sensitive to hot and cold, or if you have swollen gums.
Are root canals painful?
It is unclear how root canals got such a bad name, but it is quite possible it is undeserved. In a recent study, only 17% of participants said that a root canal was the most painful dental work they’ve ever had. It has been described as feeling similar to getting a filling.
After a root canal, your gums will feel sore and tender, but ibuprofen or another over-the-counter medicine should help with the pain.
If you need a root canal, try to ignore all of the stories that you’ve heard. Root canals may cause a bit of discomfort, but the procedure is an important one for your oral health. If you are having any dental problems or pain, make an appointment with Arlington Dental Aesthetics or South Riding Smiles. Call the Arlington office at (703) 214-3183 or the South Riding office at (703) 214-3185.