What Does Pain Feel Like When You Need a Root Canal?

What Does Pain Feel Like When You Need a Root Canal?

January 1, 2023

What Is a Root Canal? 

It is an endodontic procedure that treats the insides of a damaged and diseased tooth to restore it. The goal of a root canal is to save a tooth, preventing the need for a tooth extraction or premature tooth loss. After a root canal procedure, you have a high chance of keeping your natural tooth for a long time.

What Is the Procedure for a Root Canal? 

A typical root canal procedure entails different steps:

  1. Numbing – dentists use local anesthesia to numb the mouth so you do not feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. In some cases, sedation dentistry may be necessary, particularly for patients with dental anxiety.
  2. Drilling – the dentist will create a hole in your tooth to access the inner layer.
  3. Cleaning the canal – the dentist will target tooth roots and the pulp cavity. The goal is to remove bacteria and all infected tissues. The pulp cavity usually houses nerve endings, blood vessels, connective tissues, and other soft tissues. If they are damaged, the dentist must remove them and thoroughly clean the insides of the tooth.
  4. Shaping and filling the canal – dentists reshape the canal before using a filler called gutter percha. It fills the tooth to help maintain the structural integrity, keeping it compact.
  5. Filling and sealing – the dentist employs a dental filling of choice to fill and seal the hole in the tooth. The dental filling will prevent the re-entry of bacteria to the inner tooth layers.
  6. Crowning – although it is not a mandatory step for every root canal procedure, sometimes dentists place dental crowns over teeth after a root canal procedure. The crown helps hold the tooth in place, particularly if the size or the dental filling is too large that it can weaken the tooth.

How Long Does a Root Canal Treatment Last? 

A root canal therapy process takes between 30 to 60 minutes per tooth. The more dental work you need, the longer the treatment can last. If you have complex tooth roots, the endodontist will spend more time on your tooth, sometimes up to an hour and 39 minutes.

Further, a root canal procedure should last between 5 and 10 years or longer. However, the success of a procedure deteriorates over the years so that 98% of root canals last one year, 92% last five years, and 86% last ten years or longer. Some tips to lengthen the results of your treatment are:

  1. Keep your mouth clean – brush your teeth at least twice daily, using the correct technique for about two minutes. Further, floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth.
  2. Avoid hard and crunchy foods.
  3. Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and dental cleanings.
  4. Quit smoking and taking alcohol

What Kind of Pain Will Signal the Need for A Root Canal?

Different types of dental pain can cause you to need dental care at Thumbs Up Dental – North Branch. However, the following can indicate that you need a root canal treatment:

  1. Hypersensitivity – is a heightened sensitivity to different temperatures, typical when you eat cold or hot foods. Some triggers for the sensitivity can be breathing cold air or eating foods at extreme temperatures.
  2. A toothache – is often described as a dull persistent pain or a sharp ache in your tooth and jaw.
  3. Sudden numbness on your tooth – if you go from feeling pain to suddenly being numb, it may mean that the infection in your tooth has spread too far.

Other Symptoms of Root Canal Infection

Aside from dental pain, other symptoms can point to an infected tooth that needs endodontic treatment. The common ones are:

  1. Foul-tasting drainage – usually along the gum tissue near your tooth root
  2. Bad breath that persists even after brushing your teeth.
  3. A swelling at the base of your tooth, forming a pocket filled with pus – is also called an abscessed tooth.
  4. Discolored tooth
  5. A cracked or broken tooth – if you experience throbbing pain after the fracture, it is a sign that the crack or break goes deeper than just the tooth enamel.
  6. Visible signs of dental decay – including a tooth cavity