Are Root Canals Painful?

Endodontic, or more commonly called “root canal” therapy, is a highly successful procedure – an overall 85% success rate.  If the nerve and blood vessels inside your teeth, also known as the “pulp,” become infected, endodontic treatment can be used to save your tooth.

Endodontic procedures are usually needed if deep decay has progressed far enough that it infects the pulp chamber of your tooth, or if the tooth receives a blow or other severe trauma.

The question I get asked most about root canal therapy is one you’d probably expect:   “Does it hurt?”  We’ve all heard the stories told from years ago where someone had a root canal procedure performed and encountered lots of problems.  Comedians and late night talk show hosts routinely refer to “root canals” as procedures to be avoided.

But endodontic treatment has changed so much with today’s technology that it can’t even be compared to the stories people talk about.  Endodontic treatment used to involve two to three appointments, and at the very least, the tooth was very sore.  With the techniques we use in our office, at least 98% of endodontic procedures can be completed in just one appointment.

During my entire career as a dentist, I have routinely phoned my patients at night to make certain that they are doing well after their dental procedures.  When I phone my patients who have had a “root canal” earlier in the day, I routinely hear one of two responses – either the tooth feels “great,” or at worst, it’s “just a little tender to bite on.”  I bet that’s quite a difference from what was expected!

There are a couple of other things we do at Flemingsburg Dental Care to make certain our patients are comfortable during and after endodontic procedures.  When necessary, I’ll prescribe an antibiotic in advance so that there aren’t any problems getting the patient numb.  In addition, I routinely recommend that the patient take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as Aleve, one hour before the procedure, and for two to three days after the appointment. For patients who have always had problems getting numb or are highly anxious about their procedure, we use sedation dentistry.

If you’ve been putting off root canal therapy, why not give us a call today?   Click here for a special offer for new patients in our practice.

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