If you’ve ever suffered from a toothache, you know how excruciatingly painful it can be. Even the best over-the-counter pain reliever may not be enough to take the edge off. But you’re afraid to call the dentist’s office because you have a hunch that they’re going to tell you what you really need is a root canal. You’re worried the treatment will hurt even more than your tooth already does.
But here’s the raw truth: root canals don’t usually hurt. Although they have a bad reputation of being dentistry’s most painful procedure, that reputation is actually a myth.
The true story is that having your tooth treated with modern endodontic therapy (the clinical term used for root canals), is as easy as getting a filling or crown.
The Real Cause of Your Dental Pain
Believe it or not, getting a root canal can actually relieve your pain rather than make it worse. Think of it like an infection or abscess on your skin; the area is tender to the touch and stings when you clean it. But if the area were to be numbed, the wound could be cleaned and medicated, alleviating the discomfort and speeding up your recovery.
It’s the same when you have an abscessed tooth. When the nerve inside of teeth is exposed to bacterial infection, it becomes hypersensitive, swells, and begins to die. This creates pressure inside of your tooth and possibly a visible fistula (pimple) on the side of your gums where the infection is starting to drain.
The idea of having a dentist touching your tooth makes you feel uneasy, but in reality, a root canal is the best and fastest pain relief you can get!
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Getting a root canal is similar to having other types of restorative dental work. First, Dr. Sara Gomez will numb the area to ensure that you don’t have to feel any discomfort during the appointment. Next, an opening is made in the tooth and the infected nerve is removed. Then, the hollowed chamber is thoroughly cleaned, sanitized, and filled to prevent new bacteria from entering the area.
Then comes the placement of the root canal “filling” material. Instead of just filling a small cavity on the outer portion of your tooth, a root canal fills the area deeper inside of teeth, including the now hollow nerve chamber that extends through the roots. The great thing is that your tooth is no longer vital at this point (and the area around it is numb) so you don’t have to worry about the process being painful.
In severe cases where tooth infections are extensive, we may prescribe an antibiotic to alleviate a portion of the infection prior to treatment. Although antibiotics don’t heal abscessed teeth, they do make them easier to numb in cases where swelling is a concern.
Your root canal preserves your tooth from the inside out, so that once it’s covered with a crown you can carry on with your normal activities just like before. You won’t have to worry about the tooth hurting or feeling sensitive anymore.
That’s right…your root canal actually makes your tooth feel better. After successful endodontic therapy, your infected tooth won’t ever hurt again.
No-Fear Dentistry in Richmond Tx.
At Grand Parkway Smiles, we strive to create a “no-fear” environment for our patients. Whether you need to treat an abscessed tooth with a root canal or need an emergency dental extraction, your comfort always comes first.
By pairing strong local anesthetics to numb your tooth with light sedation medications such as nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) you can have the peace of mind knowing that you’ll be as comfortable as possible during the root canal treatment.
Plus, we use soft and gentle props for you to rest your jaw on during treatment. This minimizes muscle and TMJ fatigue — the most common “soreness” that’s left over after a root canal — because some endodontic procedures tend to last longer than others.
What Other Sedations Options are Available?
Thinking you might want something a bit stronger than laughing gas? That’s no problem! Grand Parkway Smiles provides a variety of sedation options to choose from, based on your comfort level, anxiety, and medical history.
One of the most common types of dental sedation to get during a root canal is conscious oral sedation. This type of procedure uses a pill-form of medication that’s taken about 30 minutes prior to your scheduled treatment and doesn’t wear off until 3-4 hours later. You’ll feel as if you’re napping or daydreaming throughout most of the visit and may not remember anything about it. Since oral sedation causes moderate drowsiness, you will need to have someone come with you to your appointment and drive you home afterward.
If you want the guarantee of “sleeping” through the entire visit, then a deeper type of IV sedation or general anesthesia may be what you’re looking for. You’ll want to discuss the choices available with our Houston dentist to find out which one is best for your unique situation.
So Why do Root Canals Have a Bad Reputation?
Most tooth pain comes from the infection leading up to your root canal…which in turn, can make it more challenging to numb and treat your tooth. But today’s modern endodontic equipment and effective anesthetics make root canals an easy and everyday treatment.
Get Fast Relief for Your Toothache
Delaying your root canal won’t make it any better. In fact, your infection could spread to other teeth. Call Grand Parkway Smiles in Richmond Tx for comfortable endodontic treatment that saves your smile and preserves your natural tooth for as long as possible. Book your consultation today!