Healthspan Blog

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How painful are root canals?

5th April 2013

Reader question: Do root canals hurt real bad? My wife is having one tomorrow and is dreading it. My understanding is, they’re not as awful (and painful) as they used to be. Can anyone confirm?

Answer: Actually, yes. A normal root canal should be pretty OK. I have a friend who had two. He had one done about 6 years ago and after the numbing wore, it really hurt. I had one done a few weeks ago. And no pain at all. During or after. The technology has really changed with that procedure. With any luck, the only thing she’ll feel is the Novocaine (which is nothing) and the pressure of dentist twisting the picks into her tooth. No pain, just pressure.

The worst thing about root canals is just how freaking long they take. I tend to get claustrophobic so sitting in that chair for 2+ hours is the worst part. Having your mouth open and locked for an hour – its very uncomfortable. Recovery time is like a day – you can go to work – no issues.

And you don’t have to tell your wife this part, but they also attach what is essentially a mini tarp across your face and open mouth so it just exposes the tooth being worked on and nothing else. They do that to keep it sterile and to keep the instruments from falling into your mouth but it’s a pain in the ass.

Now for the good news: If she is having pain on that tooth, the relief will be instant.

And then: Make sure after the root canal you properly have the tooth restored with a post and crown.

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