Dental Care

Root canal Pain And Relief

What do you really know about root canal pain? 

Perhaps you're about to go to the dentist, and some of your current symptoms are causing you to worry that you might need a root canal.  This is a procedure that has a bad reputation. 

Think about it -how many times have you heard someone say talk about a horrible experience and then say, "Oh, man, that was worse than a root canal!" 

You are not alone if you fear the pain of a root canal.  There are threads on web sites all over the Internet in which people discuss their options for pain control before, during, and after one of these common procedures. 

This article will help you to understand that root canal pain has a reputation that it just doesn't deserve. 

Generally, it's no more painful than having a filling placed in your tooth. 

In fact, in some cases it is possible for the dentist to work on your tooth without an anesthetic.  This is because in many of the teeth that are damaged to the point of needing root canal treatment, the tooth nerve has already died.  And it's impossible for dead nerve tissue to cause sensations of pain!

Nevertheless, your dentist will numb you up before he begins a root canal procedure.  He doesn't want you to worry about being in pain because it's important for you to relax during your root canal procedure. 

Your dentist does not want to be distracted by the idea of what's going on when he's working on your mouth.  That's why he most likely won't even ask you if you want Novocain or some other numbing agent -he'll just automatically administer it. 

If for some reason he does ask whether you want to be numbed, be certain to tell him yes.  This guarantees that your experience will not be painful -nobody likes a bad time, not you or your dentist. 

Is General Anesthetic Needed?

Some people insist that they want to be put to sleep when they get a root canal.  This generally is not a good idea.  For one thing, your insurance most likely won't pay for the anesthetic.  Once the pain in your mouth is gone, you won't be too happy about the pain in your pocketbook!

Another reason why dentists like to perform root canal using just a local anesthetic like Novocain is because patients have a better recovery.  The needle used for Novocain or any injected anesthetic agent is quite slender and doesn't cause much pain.  And once the Novocain is injected, the pain you've been experiencing will go away.

Local Anesthetics for Root Canal Pain

Most dentists can apply a substance to the outer surface of your gum before they even use the needle.  It's a harmless substance that renders the pain of the needle almost unnoticeable. You might have to ask for it.  

Consider the pain of root canal placed in its proper context:  Your tooth has been hurting pretty bad if you need a root canal. 

During the period of root damage prior to your dental treatment, bacteria have attacked the sensitive nerve of the tooth.  Blood flow accelerates due to the bacterial activity.  Your tooth might even feel like it's full of pressure.  And that pressurized feeling causes a great deal of pain.

During your root canal procedure, your mouth will be fully numbed.  You will not be able to feel a thing.  The dentist will most likely place a rubber biting block in your mouth.  It aids you in keeping your mouth open during the entire procedure, so you won't even experience the discomfort of having to hold your mouth open without assistance. 

After your root canal, when the anesthetic wears off, you will need to take an over-the-counter pain medication

Most dentists recommend something like ibuprofen or naproxen over other pain medications.  That's because they are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and both of them do a good job in reducing the swelling in your gum tissues.

Always talk with your dentist about your pain medication options, given your own personal health history and keeping in mind any medications that you already take.

You can expect your tooth to be sore for several days.  But it will be the lessened root canal pain of a healing tooth, not the gnawing, pulsating pain of a sick one.  Before you know it, you'll be feeling like new!


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