A Painful Journey Down the Dental Root Canal

Root Canal

Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is an increasingly popular solution to treat chronically infected teeth. By eliminating bacteria from within and restoring damaged nerves, root canal treatment restores damaged teeth back to health.

Root canal therapy should provide relief within days, although some individuals may still feel discomfort; over-the-counter pain relievers can provide temporary relief. During the therapy, the dentist will locate and clean the infected root canals, treating this root canal with antiseptic material and sealing the canals. After the treatment is complete, a crown may be placed over the tooth to restore it to its natural shape and strength.


If a tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal treatment may be required as its inner part contains nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels that could become compromised without intervention. Irreversible pulpitis could result in an abscess forming at the end of its root; without treatment this could become irreparable and lead to irreversible pulpitis which would require permanent extraction.

Your dentist will use local anesthetic to numb your tooth and surrounding gums prior to beginning a root canal procedure. An opening will then be drilled in order to access its canal; you may experience high-frequency vibrations during the drilling process.

As your tooth heals, you may experience discomfort. To reduce this possibility, avoid eating crunchy or hard foods during this period and refrain from clenching or grinding your teeth; doing so wears away at its enamel and dentin layers, potentially leading to root canal damage if continued; it is advised that a mouth guard be worn during such activities to safeguard its safety.


Root canal therapy may save a tooth that would otherwise need extraction; it cannot, however, save one that has already died.

Starting off the procedure involves administering local anesthesia to numb both the affected tooth and surrounding gums, before placing a protective barrier made from rubber known as a dental dam on it to isolate and keep away saliva during treatment. Some people also opt for sedation during root canal procedures in order to ease anxiety during their experience.

Drilling an opening into the top of a tooth then allows dental instruments to access it and clean out its inflamed or infected dental pulp before shaping the area to accommodate fillings.

After cleaning the space, a special root-end filling and sealant may be used to prevent reinfection. A temporary filling may then be placed until a later dental appointment, when it will be replaced by a permanent crown restoration.


Root canal procedures tend to be successful; however, any procedure can present complications.

One common issue arises when bacteria begin proliferating after the nerve has died, creating a biofilm which releases inflammatory toxins that lead to bone loss underneath the tooth.

Untreated dental decay or crack/fracture of a tooth that exposes it to bacteria are two possible sources of this issue, while seal between previous filling and enamel could also breakdown and allow bacteria to infiltrate and reach the pulp of the tooth.

Other complications may include pain in your jaw joint (TMJ) caused by having to hold open for prolonged periods during treatment and post-procedure sensitivity to hot or cold food items that lingers afterward. These issues can be avoided by maintaining good oral hygiene practices and seeing your dentist for regular checkups, which allows him or her to catch issues earlier and treat them more easily.


Underneath each tooth’s hard enamel and dentin layers lies soft tissue known as pulp, filled with blood vessels and nerves to aid the tooth during development. A cracked or deep cavity tooth, dental trauma or dental infection can allow bacteria to reach this vital area and lead to infection in its center.

If the pulp dies of an affected tooth, a pus-filled pocket will develop around its root end, creating pressure, pain and swelling known as an abscess.

Contrary to popular belief, modern root canal treatment isn’t nearly as painful as once thought and provides a quick and comfortable method of saving teeth. Painkillers such as over-the-counter or prescribed painkillers may be prescribed following treatment to alleviate any discomfort afterward; antibiotics must also be taken as directed if prescribed; any hard or crunchy foods which could compound pain should also be avoided, and brushing and flossing regularly is vital in order to prevent reinfection; should your tooth start hurting shortly after treatment has taken place then please call us immediately as this could signal any issues further downstream in order to find solutions!