When faced with root canal therapy, the first thought many people have is “this is going to be painful!”. The truth of the matter is that pain is caused by the root canal infection itself and will only become more severe if left untreated. Endodontic treatments, including root canal therapy, are essential for alleviating dental pain and restoring oral health. Drs. Bruno Lemay and Greg Ardary address patient concerns about root canal therapy and pain during consultations at their practice, which serves Rancho Mirage, CA , Palm Springs, CA, and Palm Desert, CA. For more information about root canal therapy, we invite you to contact our team today.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal infections occur when bacteria are allowed to reach the pulp tissues, nerves, and blood vessels within the root canal of a tooth. Because root canal infections directly impact dental nerves, the tissues responsible for regulating tooth sensitivity, and the tooth's blood vessels, responsible for nourishing the tooth, they are extremely painful and damaging to oral health. When a root canal infection occurs, dental intervention in the form of root canal therapy is necessary to treat the infection and save the tooth from requiring extraction.
Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?
During root canal therapy, steps are taken to ensure patient comfort and prevent pain. A local anesthetic is administered to numb the gums, tooth, and area surrounding the tooth being treated. Once the anesthetic takes effect, a dental drill or laser is used to access the infected root canal tissues. Infected nerve and pulp tissues are then removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned. Any damaged, decayed portions of the tooth are also removed, leaving only healthy areas of the tooth behind. After the tooth is cleaned, a medication may be placed within the tooth to help prevent further infection and either a metal or tooth-colored filling will be placed. In cases in which a large filling is required, a dental crown is commonly placed to protect the weakened tooth from breaking.
Should I Expect Pain after Root Canal Therapy?
During root canal therapy, infected nerve and pulp tissue are removed, alleviating the pain caused by damaged dental nerves. Removing the tooth's nerve means that the tooth will no longer have pain from the root canal infection itself and will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. However, the area around the tooth may feel sensitive for a few days after treatment. Often, over-the-counter pain medication is sufficient to reduce discomfort while the tissues around the treated area recover.
Preventing Root Canal Infections
Root canal infections are most commonly caused by tooth decay, a preventable dental issue. Practicing good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing routinely and seeing your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, are essential for preventing tooth decay and root canal infections. Limiting sugary, acidic foods and drinks can also help reduce the risk of tooth erosion, decay, and root canal infections.
Schedule a Consultation
For answers to your questions about root canal infections, or to discover your treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lemay or Dr. Ardary.