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How Painful is a Root Canal? 

Updated March 11, 2022

There’s a dental treatment out there that can make even the toughest of the tough shudder in fear. We’re talking about the dreaded root canal. This dental procedure has gained such a terrible reputation over the years of being an incredibly painful, uncomfortable, and overall horrible thing. However, nothing could be farther from the truth, and your dentist in Memphis is here to set the record straight on just how beneficial (and painless!) a root canal can be. 

Putting the Painful Perception to Rest

If you’ve been told that you need a root canal, you may be a little apprehensive, scared, or straight-up terrified. We understand because we know that many people have the perception that this dental treatment is painful. But quite the opposite is true. If you need a root canal, chances are you’re already in pain, and sometimes excruciating pain at that. That’s because there’s an infection so deep into your tooth that it’s reached your nerves. When this happens, your dentist in Memphis will typically recommend a root canal to remove the infection, stop the pain, and save your tooth. So you see, a root canal actually stops the pain instead of causing it. 

5 Steps of a Root Canal 

Our experience shows that sometimes, knowing what your dentist in Memphis is going to do will help alleviate fears. However, if you’re the opposite and you find that knowing the details of treatment just exacerbates fear, skip to the next section. 

The five steps of a root canal are: 

  • Numb the area. A root canal treatment begins with a thorough numbing of the treatment area. After just a few minutes, you shouldn’t feel a thing. This helps reduce or completely remove any discomfort.
  • Make a teeny hole. Once you’re nice and numb, your dentist will make an itsy bitsy hole to access the inner tooth where all of your canals, nerves, and pulp resides. 
  • Clean out the canals. Your dentist will then clean out your canals and remove all the inner-workings of them including any infection, pulp, and nerves. This completely eliminates that tooth’s ability to feel anything, hence removing the pain you started with. 
  • Seal them off. Almost done! After the canals are cleaned they will be sealed off to prevent anything from reentering. 
  • Place a dental crown. The final step of a root canal often involves the creation and placement of a dental crown. This cap covers the entire tooth and farther prevents anything from getting inside. Dental crowns are custom-created to match the color and shape of the rest of your teeth, so nobody will even know it’s there. 

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

As we’ve already mentioned, tooth pain can be a sign that you need a root canal. However, it’s important to know that tooth pain does not always equate to a root canal. There are tons of things that can cause tooth pain, so check with your dentist in Memphis. Other signs that you may need a root canal include: 

  • Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
  • A small raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
  • Tooth discoloration 
  • Gum swelling or pain  

Any of these symptoms should be a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you happen to need a root canal, don’t panic. Relief is coming.