Toothache: Root Canal Treatments can Get You OUT of Pain!


There’s no reason to worry and every reason to move forward, If you’re needing a root canal procedure. Root canal treatments are a a dental procedure that eliminate bacteria from infected tooth roots and prevent reinfection because the infected pulp is removed and the surrounding area is carefully cleaned, filled, and then sealed. Every year, millions of people undergo this procedure to treat diseased or damaged teeth. It will relieve any oral pain you’ve been experiencing and can make your teeth healthy once again.

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How Root Canal Treatments Can Help You

Root canal treatments have the unlucky reputation of being uncomfortable or painful. But the truth is, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a cavity filled. Due to innovative painkillers and advancements in dentistry, little to no pain should be experienced during your treatment. The discomfort experienced in the period leading up to treatment is truly the painful period, not the root canal procedure itself.

According to WebMD,

“During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed and the inside is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and an abscess may form. Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. But the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.”

Read more about Root Canals from WebMD

If you’ve been experiencing symptoms, such as:

  • Severe pain when biting/chewing
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • Swollen, tender gums
  • Lingering temperature sensitivity
  • Darkening of gums
  • Pimples on gums
  • Decay

These symptoms may indicate that a root canal procedure is needed. To get your oral health back to normal, and to eliminate any pain you may be experiencing, this treatment is often the next, and best, step to take. If left untreated, there’s no doubt you’ll lose the infected tooth and experience more dental problems and more pain. You can even spread the infection to the rest of your body, if left untreated.

Related Article: Why is Root Canal Therapy Needed?

Learn More about Our Restorative Dental Options

Here are the Top 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Root Canal Treatments:

1. Afraid of Root Canals: It May Not Actually Hurt

Root canals have a bad reputation as being a painful procedure. However, most people who have had one, refer to it as a “painless”. Before the procedure, a numbing anesthetic medicine will be injected around the infected tooth, which will feel like a slight sting on your gum. After that, you’ll barely feel a thing.

Related Article: Root Canal Treatment: 5 Common Myths Debunked

2. Afraid of Root Canals: Your Tooth Will Be Saved

The entire goal of root canal treatment is to save the infected tooth. After this part of the procedure, your dentist will put a crown or filling on the top of the tooth. Once completed, it isn’t even noticeable and with proper dental hygiene, your tooth can last a lifetime. Read more about Getting a Dental Crown Procedure.

3. Afraid of Root Canals: Your Pain Will Be Gone

Another reason people are afraid of root canals and the treatment is because they’re afraid there will be pain after the root canal. You may have some pain after the procedure, but typically an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen will help. If you’re at risk for infection, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic to clear it up. Most people return to their normal routine the very next day.

Read More about What Causes Toothache Pain?

Here are 5 simple steps to follow before or after having your root canal treatment:

1. Take any antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist.

It is perfectly normal for a tooth that has had root canal therapy (also known as endodontic therapy) to be tender for a short time after the treatment has begun throughout the root canal recovery process.

2. Relieve any pain with anti-inflammatory medication

When a tooth is infected and requires a root canal, the periodontal fibers that anchor the tooth to the bone are also irritated and stretched from infection around the roots of the tooth. The trauma of the fibers/ligaments being stretched can also be very painful and will need some time to heal.  Ibuprofen, either over the counter or a stronger dosage prescribed by your dentist, has an anti-inflammatory action that will provide relief during the healing period.  Gentle but thorough cleaning of the tooth and gums around the recently treated area is best for quickest healing and relief of discomfort from irritated gums.

3. Give the treated tooth some time to settle down and become more comfortable

“Ghost pain” after a tooth has had a root canal can be explained by the fact that nerves in the root of the tooth have been amputated from the major nerve that supplies all of the teeth along its pathway. In much the same way people who have had a limb removed report pain in the missing limb. The “ghost pain” diminishes over time and usually goes away completely. But, remember each situation is unique.

Often an infected tooth has been pushed slightly out of the socket by the infection accumulating at the root tips. The infected tooth is bearing more biting pressure than it can comfortably stand. Even if the tooth has had some reduction of its height taken off by the dentist, it may still be tender for a few days. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw muscles (bruxing) contributes to any pain you may be experiencing after your root canal treatment. A night guard or relaxation techniques to keep your teeth slightly apart, can contribute to a more comfortable dental state.

4. Avoid hard, crunchy or tough foods for several days after a root canal

Staying with softer foods and chewing on the opposite side are helpful suggestions to reduce pain after your root canal treatment.  If the tooth does not become less sensitive after a few days, additional adjustment of the traumatic biting pressure may be needed by your dentist.

A tooth that has had a root canal is more brittle. Most of the time a tooth that needs a root canal had a large area of decay or a large old filling, so little of the original healthy tooth structure remains. A full crown to reinforce a more fragile recently-treated tooth is recommended as soon as possible after a root canal has been completed. If the tooth develops a crack or fractures, there can be pain associated with that unwanted occurrence.

5. Having a crown made for a root canal-treated tooth helps to maintain it, keep it intact, functional, and less likely to develop pain from fracturing

The final step of a root canal is often placing a crown. Often when a tooth needs a root canal, there is extensive decay or a large filling that was placed a long time ago. In order to restore the tooth to full function and lessen further complications such as fracturing, a crown is placed.

If you’re suffering from tooth pain, we can help!

We hope we’ve answered some of your questions about root canal treatments; however, if you have additional questions … we’d love to answer them too! Please contact our office at 81-373-4440. Of course, if you’re in pain from a toothache or think you need a root canal treatment, please let us know that you’re in pain when you call us, so we can schedule your appointment as a dental emergency and get you treated immediately!

Contact us today to schedule your dental appointment and meet with our skilled dentists at one of our three conveniently located dental office locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to treat your dental emergency, achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your dental insurance benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are happy to review your policy! Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment and become part of our dental family.