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Root Canals: Are They Painful?

usually you won't need anything stronger than aspirin to manage the painGoing to the dentist can be a scary experience for a lot of people.

Just getting teeth cleaned with those intimidating sharp metal picks is enough to scare many, especially children.

And people of all ages are downright terrified of two little words: root canal. Everybody, from scared little kids to hard-working, responsible adults to wise, distinguished seniors seem to get nervous when we tell them they may need a root canal.

But does reputation match up to reality in this case? Do root canals really hurt that much?

The Verdict Is In: No, Root Canals Are Not That Painful (In Most Cases)

Actually, no, root canals are not all that painful. During the procedure you won’t feel a thing. The tooth that is being worked on and all the surrounding areas will be made completely numb by a local anesthetic.

You might experience some discomfort in the 2 – 3 days following the procedure. Usually this is very mild and can be treated with over-the-counter pain meds like aspirin or Tylenol. However, there are uncommon cases of people experiencing symptoms that would better be described as true “pain” rather than “discomfort”. In these cases, all you need to do is tell your dentist and they’ll prescribe you some stronger meds to help with the pain.

Prevention: The 100% Pain-Free Approach

Of course, even though root canals aren’t as painful as people make them out to be, they are still inconvenient and mildly uncomfortable procedures. They might also be considerably expensive procedures, depending on your insurance situation.

There is one way to prevent every ounce of pain associated with root canals, and that includes both the pain to your tooth and the pain to your pocketbook.

That way is to prevent root canals from being necessary in the first place. Brush and floss twice a day, avoid food and drink that’s high in sugar as much as you can: you’ve heard it all before. Also, be sure to get regular checkups and take care of cavities as soon as they’re found. Infected nerves and the resulting root canals are what happen when you neglect to get your cavities filled.

And if you do all that and somehow you still end up with an infected nerve that requires a root canal, at least you’ll know the experience won’t really be that painful.

Feel free to contact us for more information about our dental services.

Dr. Jonathan Everett
Dr. Jonathan Everett received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington and completed his undergraduate studies in biochemistry at Washington State University. During this time, Dr. Everett served as both the President of the American Student Dental Association chapter as well as the Student Council Vice President. As a board-member of DentPAC for the Washington State Dental Association, Dr. Everett fought to maintain the quality of dental care provided in Washington State by working with state legislators and advocating for patient-centered dentistry in Olympia.
Dr. Jonathan Everett
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