The words ‘root canal’ are usually associated with the idea of pain. For those who suffer from anxiety or have a fear of dental procedures, being told you need a root canal is likely not what you want to hear. In reality though, the root canal procedure is often the most painless way to treat a very serious problem.
The root canal is a tube that contains the ‘pulp’ in our teeth. This pulp is a mixture of tissue fibres, blood vessels, dental cells and nerve fibres. The pulp within the tooth is important during adolescence. It is responsible for providing the nutrients that enable our teeth to grow and develop. However, once our teeth reach maturity they no longer need this ‘pulp’ as they can take their nutrients from the tissue in the gums.
Infections occur when the pulp inside the canal starts to decay and it becomes infected. This decay can cause abscesses in the canal, which result in painful pockets of pus.
The pain of a root canal is all relative to the individual. For most, the pain caused by an infected root canal is a lot more severe than the pain after a root canal procedure. After all, at Dr Olstein’s dental surgery root canal is done to remove the pain you’re feeling.
Root Canal Pain Before the Procedure
The pulp of your tooth can become damaged in a number of ways. Deep decay can allow bacteria to seep into your tooth pulp, as can blows or injuries that your teeth incur, old fillings becoming loose, cracked teeth and gum disease.
Make an appointment with Dr Olstein as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms of a root canal infection.
- Sudden and unexplained pain in your teeth or gums
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
- Swelling around your teeth or face
- Inflamed gums which feel painful when eating
- Visible pus around your teeth or gums
During a Root Canal Treatment
If Dr Olstein believes you are suffering from a root canal infection he will take x-rays of your teeth to assess the damage and the specific roots that have been affected. This means that he can create a root canal treatment plan specific to you, so no more tissue than necessary will be removed.
Local anaesthetic will be administered during the procedure to make coping with your root canal pain as easy as possible. The whole procedure is relatively painless.
Dr Olstein also specialises in sleep dentistry. This means that if you’re worried about the pain or fear is overwhelming you, we can help with sedation dentistry.
After The Treatment
Whilst a root canal treatment will significantly help to ease the pain of an infected tooth, the area around the tooth may be sensitive for a few days after treatment. Depending on the state of the tooth and your gums, Dr Olstein can prescribe some pain relief medication to help with this. You’ll also be required to make a follow up appointment in order to have a permanent filling or crown. This will help to ensure that bacteria doesn’t leak into the canal in the future.
It is rare to experience any prolonged pain after a root canal procedure. Whilst it’s normal for the tooth to be sensitive for a few days afterwards, if you continue to feel pain we have a few tips to help:
- Apply an ice pack to soothe the pain
- Over the counter pain medication like Ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce any swelling
- Gargling saltwater can be extremely effective in easing dental pain and fighting infection after your root canal treatment. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle 2-3 times a day
- Sleep with your pillows elevated to ease any throbbing pain in your nerves and gums
If none of the above seem to be working, or you’re worried there could be a bigger problem occurring, give us a call! Chances are, Dr Olstein will be able to take a look at your tooth and find out what’s wrong. The pain may simply mean you need some additional cleaning of the canals or another similar procedure.
In the end, the best way to cope with initial root canal pain is by paying a visit to Dr Olstein. Despite common misconceptions, the procedure will actually be a lot less painful than what you expect. You may feel some discomfort in the following days. But, the ultimate aim of any root canal therapy is to alleviate pain—not cause it.