Hygienist holding a set of Invisalign

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful? By Stephen Dowell, DDS on October 20, 2021

A root canal infection develops when bacteria makes its way to the pulp of a tooth, where the nerves and other sensitive tissues reside. The bacteria can spread to the roots of a tooth, compromising its health, strength, and function. To eliminate infection and preserve the tooth Dr. Stephen Dowell performs root canal therapy.

Root canal therapy is a safe and effective treatment for root canal infection, but many are fearful of the procedure, because they have heard a lot about root canal therapy pain. Here, Dr. Dowell prepares individuals in the Minerva, Carrollton, and Dover, OH, area for the degree of discomfort they may experience during root canal therapy and the recovery phase.

Pain from a Root Canal Infection

It is not uncommon to hear people complain of root canal pain. However, the pain associated with a root canal comes from the infection itself, and not from the procedure that treats the condition. A root canal infection causes the tissues at the pulp of the tooth to become inflamed. In severe cases an abscess, or pocket of pus, can develop along the roots of the tooth. These effects of a root canal infection can lead to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Heightened tooth sensitivity
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Throbbing in or around the infected tooth
  • Tenderness in the gums surrounding the infected tooth

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

Contrary to what most people have heard, root canal therapy is not a painful procedure. Most patients who undergo treatment say that it feels much the same as receiving a dental filling, although the procedure itself is more complex than that. 

During root canal therapy, the doctor will first make a small hole in the tooth. This hole grants access to the pulp of the tooth and allows Dr. Dowell to remove infected tissues. Next, the canals of the tooth are cleaned. The tooth is filled with a rubber-like compound that seals off the canals. To provide added strength and protection the tooth is fitted with a dental crown.

The steps involved in root canal treatment would be painful without anesthetic, but the procedure does not start until our patients are thoroughly numb. Dr. Dowell uses local anesthetic to numb the treatment site and surrounding areas, to help make the procedure as comfortable as possible.

Will I Experience Pain Following Root Canal Treatment?

Patients recover from root canal therapy quickly, and most experience little to no side effects. The tissues around the treatment area may develop minor inflammation for a few days. It can also take a little time to adjust to the dental crown that is placed. But neither of those should cause any pain. In fact, if patients do experience pain they should report it to Dr. Dowell as soon as possible, as it may be a sign of a complication.

Contact Us

If you are experiencing inflammation, extreme tooth sensitivity, and/or dental pain, you may be suffering from a root canal infection. To find out how root canal therapy can restore oral health and eliminate pain, send us a message online, or call our dental practice at (330) 868-5001.


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