Root Canal Symptoms are awful! Root Canal symptoms consist of severe pain, pressure, and swelling. As a dentist, one of the things we deal with on a daily basis is a phone call from a person with a toothache; the person on the line is describing these classic root canal symptoms.
Like the rest of our body, teeth are alive. They are nourished by a blood and a nerve supply that keeps them moist, supple, and flexible. When untreated, decay sinks into the deepest layer of the tooth or the pulp tissue. This causes the tooth to begin to die. The tooth then becomes infected and the pain from the decaying process begins. This type of pain is what makes people call our office to request an appointment for their dental emergency. These root canal symptoms that include excruciating pain must be dealt with immediately. When someone with these symptoms calls, you should not put them off. It is at this moment that a dental team is called to action to administer emergency dental services.
As a dentist, I have seen the ravages of decay on teeth, and the thought of having these horrible root canal symptoms was something I didn’t even want to imagine having to endure. I never wanted to go through the pain that people experienced with root canal symptoms. I am a baby when it comes to pain and was always asked my dentist out of curiosity “does a root canal hurt?” I always thought that I wouldn’t be tough enough to handle the discomfort the dreadful root canal symptoms give you or having to go through this type of dental emergency. In the back of my mind; however, I knew that it would be inevitable.
I was a child of the “Age of Silver Fillings” in dentistry. The problem with silver fillings is that, over the years they begin to breakdown and leak. This causes reoccurring decay to be trapped underneath the silver filling. If these faulty fillings are left untreated, they often lead to the root canal symptoms that we’ve discussed. So, in the back of my mind I had a strong hunch that I would eventually experience the pain of these root canal symptoms, and that honestly terrified me.
I had dodged the root canal bullet for 50 years, but then the fateful day struck. I was sitting on my couch watching the Kansas City Chiefs play football. I was enjoying a Dove ice-cream bar, so much so that when I finished the first, I decided I needed another. Two bites into my second ice-cream bar my lower left molar exploded with pain. The pain made my eyes water and didn’t seem to be subsiding at all. The pain was enough to make me crumple to my knees. I grabbed some Ibuprofen and knew that this was the day I had been dreading for many years. The painful root canal symptoms had come for me.
It was about one hour after taking that Ibuprofen that the pain subsided. (By the way, 800mg of Ibuprofen really helped to make the symptoms manageable.) The pain subsided, but it still felt like I had a lot of pressure in my tooth. Since it was Sunday, I continued to take Ibuprofen, as directed to manage the pain, until Monday morning when I could get in to see my dentist.
On Monday morning my tooth still had painful root canal symptoms, including severe pain, pressure, and swelling… but nothing unbearable. My dentist put me in the chair, numbed me up, performed my root canal, and gave me some antibiotics. During my root canal recovery, when the numbness wore off, I thought I would have pain, but to my surprise I had no pain after root canal!! Can you believe it? I had so much anxiety and fear, and every thing turned out fine. Amazing! So, the answer to my question and the question of so many others “does a root canal hurt??” No … as long as you have a great dentist that is very skilled at performing root canals, like mine!!!
So, if you find your self having sudden severe pain or pressure in one of you teeth that has had a prior restoration, call your dentist right away. These root canal symptoms are not something to mess around with and we will do our best to get your dental emergency appointment scheduled as soon as possible and to get you on your way to your root canal recovery.
If you do find yourself having to wait to get into your dental emergency appointment, consider taking Ibuprofen or Tylenol, as a recommended dosage can really help to ease the pain, swelling and discomfort. I recommend Ibuprofen, but if you are unable to take that, then Tylenol will work as well. Finally, don’t be afraid. Pain is a scary thing to have to deal with, but if you are having root canal symptoms, a quick response is best. Your dental team can help you get the right treatment, and get you through your root canal recovery and back to normal as quickly as possible.