Root Canal Treatment: Is It Worth the Pain?

Individuals who suffer from tooth pain have strong affinity for extraction than root canal treatment for one reason: pain. Truly, root canal treatment is a painful procedure that nearly all people who have tooth decay undergo. But the question is, is root canal treatment worth the pain?

Dental health experts would agree that root canal treatment despite being an awful procedure is the best treatment for severely decayed and infected tooth. Gone are the days when the only way to treat infected tooth is to removed it and end up getting artificial tooth to cover up the loss!

Why Root Canal Treatment is Painful?

Root canal is performed when the tooth is severely decayed or the pulp (containing nerve endings and blood vessels) is damaged. When the pulp is badly injured, the person often experiences tooth ache. To address the problem, the tooth is cleaned and the nerve is removed through root canal treatment. Truly, root canal treatment has the reputation of being agonizing procedure but nothing is much more painful than before the decayed tooth is treated.

What Happens if the Nerve is Removed?

nerve removeThe nerve of the tooth is what causes tooth ache. It is the nerve that is removed during root canal treatment. Getting rid of the nerve does not harm you. There is nothing special about it except for providing the sensation of hot and cold. Its function is purely sensory and taking it off will never affect the functioning of your tooth.

The nerve needs to be removed as well as the pulp needs to be cleansed because bacteria causing the infection may multiply leading to tooth infection as evidenced by abscess formation. When not treated, it affects the whole tooth and would lead swelling of the face, bone loss and worse, formation of hole through the skin.

Root Canal Procedure

root canal

Image Credit: WebMD Inc

This section of the article explains why root canal is a throbbing procedure.

Important: Not all dentists can perform root canal procedure. Endodontists are experts on diagnosing, managing and treating dental disorders involving pulp and nerve of the tooth.

The first step of root canal treatment is to take a panoramic X-ray to see the shape and position of the tooth and also the presence of infection. The use of anesthesia in the procedure is not really necessary because more often than not, the pain is tolerable. However, anesthesia is administered to feel the person more relaxed throughout the procedure.

To maintain decontamination, treated tooth is kept dry. The dentist keeps the tooth dry while removing the decayed tissue. When adequate hole is made, further tooth cleaning is made using root canal files. These metal files have varying diameter and they work by scrubbing the inner sides of the root canals. A sodium hypochlorite is used repeatedly to flush debris. The dentists will then place a rubber compound known as gutta percha to seal the root canal. Depending on the extent of infection, the doctor may choose not to seal the tooth with permanent filling the same day.

Despite being cleansed and restored, treated tooth remains a weak tooth hence to prevent it from breaking down, a crown is normally advised by doctors.

What to Expect After the Root Canal?

Ideally, pain should be relieved by the end of the treatment. However, in some cases, the patient may experience little amount of pain. Nevertheless, this can be easily managed by over-the-counter pain killers such as Ibuprofen.

Root canal treatment has more than 95% success rate.