Is Root Canal Treatment Really Painful?

Looking at some of the misunderstandings surrounding this procedure.

Ask most people what the worst type of pain they can imagine is and you can be fairly sure that quite a few will mention root canal surgery.

The ‘myth’ of the root canal procedure, it seems, has built up over a long period of time and now has a reputation which far surpasses reality.

When do you need root canal treatment?

Essentially, a root canal procedure would be carried out at the Confidental Clinic when the soft inner pulp at the root of a tooth becomes infected. When this occurs, there are two options available. The first is to extract the tooth, which we are reluctant to do if not necessary for other reasons; and the other is the root canal procedure. This is an effective way of saving a natural tooth and is nothing like as bad as many of our dental patients from the Purley area might expect.

To perform the procedure, the patient will be given a local anaesthetic in order to numb the area. The top of the infected tooth will then be removed and the infected pulp, which contains both blood vessels and nerves, extracted.

This leaves a hollow tooth which is then further cleaned to remove any remaining infection and residual bacteria, before being filled and finally completed through the addition of a dental crown, or cap.

Where’s the pain?

Although this is obviously an invasive procedure; once the local anaesthetic has been administered, there is no reason why the patient should feel pain. So, where does the myth about root canal pain arise?

The likelihood is that this originated from a time where x-rays were not common in dental care. Because, in some cases, an abscess can form when a tooth becomes infected, we now always x-ray before the procedure to ensure that there is not one present. If there is, this will be treated before the root canal is carried out. Prior to the common use of x-rays, it would not have been possible to detect the abscess and it is likely this that caused most of the pain associated with root procedures of years ago.

At the Confidental Clinic in Purley, we can assure all our patients that you will be taken very good care of and that you should not fear this procedure. For patients who are not convinced and are still anxious, we are able to offer intravenous sedation to enable us to save your tooth. And of course, we are always happy to discuss any aspect of our treatment at your consultation.

For more advice about root treatments and any other dental concerns, please call our Surrey dental practice on 020 8660 8923.