Next to tooth extractions, root canals are often derided as one of the most painful procedures performed at dental offices. However, it’s a misconception based on dentistry of the past. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, root canals and tooth extractions are often relatively painful. Take a look at what the root canal procedure entails and learn why you shouldn’t worry about discomfort when having the procedure performed.
Why Root Canals Aren’t Painful
One of the most powerful tools in a dentist’s office is local anesthesia. It’s the reason root canals and tooth extraction don’t feel like root canals and tooth extractions.
After receiving a shot of a local anesthetic near the area of your mouth where the root canal will be performed, you won’t feel much sensation in that area of your beyond – beyond mild to moderate pressure as your dentist’s work. However, you won’t experience anything that could be described as “painful” after receiving local anesthesia for your root canal.
How Root Canals Work
The goal of a root canal is to stop an infection inside or a decaying tooth and to ultimately save the tooth.
Here’s a high-level look at the root canal process:
- Tooth prep – your tooth will be clean, dried and isolated from the other teeth by a rubber dam – a thin sheet of rubber placed around the tooth. You’ll be given a shot of local anesthesia to numb the area of your mouth.
- Root access – the dentist will drill a small hole into the tooth to access the pulp inside. This borehole typically is made through an existing cavity.
- Pulp cleaning – decaying pulp and bone tissue inside the tooth will be cleaned away
- Filling and curing – a filling and a sealer will be poured into the borehole to fill the tooth and protect any remaining healthy pulp from infection.
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