Root Canals Are Extremely Painful: Myth or Fact?

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Does the mere mention of root canal treatment scare you? You might have heard people explaining their experiences, or if you yourself have already undergone a root canal treatment, you might know the anxiety associated with it. But is it something to be really afraid of? 

The term “root canal” refers to the inner part of the tooth, submerged in the enamel and dentine, which consists of nerves, blood vessels, etc. This term is now commonly used for the dental procedure done to treat the root canal from infections.


Are Root Canal Treatments Painful?

what is a root canal

It’s a common belief that root canal treatments are extremely painful. Earlier, root canal treatments were relatively painful but with recent advancements (for example, fine needles, painless anaesthesia, advanced instruments, etc), this entire procedure has become quite painless. More importantly, it is significantly more painful to live with a decayed tooth than to undergo a root canal treatment. Dentists aim at making your experience as comfortable as possible.


When is a Root Canal Treatment Required?

A Root Canal Treatment (RCT) is required when the root canal (the pulp and tissues concealed within) is inflamed, infected or injured. Symptoms indicating the need for treatment include:

  • Mild to severe pain and swelling near the affected tooth.
  • Discolouration of the teeth can also be seen.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli.
  • A sharp throbbing kind of pain which increases at night or while lying down. 


What Causes the Need for a Root Canal Treatment?

decaying teeth require root canal

  • A decayed tooth, an entirely destroyed tooth or perhaps, a superficial cavity on a tooth that may have progressed to the root canal. While the teeth may look white and fine to you, the root underneath is affected and there’s a need to get root canal treatment 
  • A cracked tooth, that may or may not have become discoloured, due to trauma to the teeth or a fracture impacting the level of the root canal.

If you delay your root canal treatment, it may lead to abscess/pus discharge and eventually, a severe infection. 


What is the General Procedure for a Root Canal Treatment?

what is root canal treatment

  1. Local Anaesthesia: The affected area is numbed before initiating treatment.
  2. Cleaning the Bacteria: The infected portion of the tooth is removed.
  3. Cleaning and Shaping: The root canal is shaped in a desirable way to felicitate filling.
  4. Obturation: Obturation involves filling the canals that have been treated, and are infection free, with materials that will prevent further infection and are non-toxic to the body. 


How Much Does a Root Canal Cost? 

The cost of a Root Canal Treatment depends upon numerous factors such as the city you live in, the materials that are used by the dentist and the severity of the case. Hence, the cost varies from one person to another.


Post-RCT Aftercare

Follow the instructions given by your dentist strictly. You might experience some pain and discomfort after the treatment, for a couple of days. You must adhere to the medications prescribed by your dentist. Additionally, take extra care and vigilance while brushing your teeth and chewing.  


are root canals painful?

A root canal treatment might seem like an unpleasant experience. However, it is actually a blessing in disguise as it can help preserve the affected tooth and the roots instead of extracting them to prevent an infection.

The best way to prevent an RCT is to go for regular dental check-ups. If you have a habit of going to the dentist only when there is an occurrence of unbearable or severe pain, there is a high chance your tooth already requires an RCT because it has reached a stage where the infection has reached the pulp (the soft tissue inside the canal). 

Ask your dentist about the procedure and newer technologies used to reduce pain and make your experience comfortable. Always remember, root canal treatments don’t cause pain, they relieve it!

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