What Is a Root Canal and Does it Hurt?

There are many people who fear the dentist because they think the procedures will be painful. When they think of painful procedures, one of them stands out above the rest. That is the root canal. There are horror stories about them but very little understanding. For example, the modern root canal procedure is much less uncomfortable than in the past. In fact, many people say it was relatively painless. So, what is a root canal and why might you need one?

Why Root Canal Therapy? The Teeth Have Roots

Your teeth have roots that feed them nutrients through the gums to keep your teeth healthy and strong. That root travels through a  narrow canal in the gums. That canal can become infected for several different reasons. One of the most common reasons is that the patient does not brush and floss as often as recommended. Food gets lodged in the teeth and that food breeds bacteria which then infects the gums. Therefore, most people can avoid ever needing a root canal by simply brushing and flossing as much as the dentist recommends.

If you can’t avoid the root canal, you’ll feel pain below the gums. There will likely be swelling and tenderness as well. Those are the signs of an infection in the gums. In some cases, the dentist might be able to use antibiotics to kill the infection. If that’s not the case, they will need to take more aggressive actions.

The Root Canal Procedure

First, the tooth being treated will be numbed to ensure you feel little to no pain. The affected root will be cleaned and treated ensuring the cause of your pain is no longer an issue. The tooth will be filled much like a regular filling most of us have had in the past and you’ll be back to normal function very quickly.

The procedure is done with such sophisticated tools that it does not cause much discomfort. Many people have remarked after undergoing the procedure that they felt silly for being so nervous. An infection in the gums is very painful. The amount of relief you’ll feel after a few days will definitely outweigh any discomfort you feel from the procedure. If you have pain and swelling in your gums, get in touch with a dentist; it won’t get better on its own.

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