Is Root Canal Painful?

Root canal treatment often invokes fear and anxiety in many individuals due to its reputation for being painful. However, understanding the reality behind root canal procedures can help alleviate these concerns and make informed decisions about dental care. In this blog, we’ll explore the question, “Is root canal painful?” and uncover the facts surrounding this common dental procedure.

Why Would You Need a Root Canal Treatment?

The pulp chamber inside each tooth contains the tooth pulp and nerves. When deep decay, trauma, fractures, or multiple dental procedures occur, they can lead to infection or inflammation of the soft pulp tissue. In such instances, dentists resort to root canal therapy to preserve the tooth and reinstate its well-being and functionality. This endodontic procedure has a high success rate, with over 95 percent of cases succeeding.

root canal treatment

What Are the Common Symptoms of Tooth Pulp Infection?

The symptoms of tooth pulp infection are:

  • Persistent tooth pain
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling around the affected tooth
  • Tenderness when chewing or biting
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Foul taste or odor in the mouth
  • The appearance of a pimple-like bump on the gum near the infected tooth.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s better to seek prompt evaluation and treatment from a dentist.

What Happens if You Don’t Get a Root Canal Treatment?

If you don’t undergo a necessary root canal treatment, the infected tooth pulp won’t heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection can worsen, causing swelling in the face and neck, a tooth abscess, bone loss around the tooth root, and eventually tooth loss. Sometimes, the infection spreads to the bloodstream, leading to various health issues. The only alternative to a root canal is tooth extraction, followed by replacement with an implant, bridge, or partial denture. However, this option is usually more expensive and time-consuming.

Is Root Canal Painful?

To ensure your comfort during the procedure, the area will be numbed with a local anesthetic, and dental sedation may be offered if needed. For most patients, root canal therapy feels similar to getting a dental filling. You might experience some pressure or movement, but the pain should be minimal.

During the root canal procedure, a small opening is created in the tooth’s crown to access the damaged pulp tissue, which is then removed. After the area is cleaned, shaped, and sterilized, it is filled with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha, and the tooth is sealed.

Following root canal therapy, the treated tooth may become brittle and prone to fracture, so a dental crown is often recommended for added protection. Your new restoration will closely resemble your natural teeth in look, feel, and function. With proper oral hygiene, your treated tooth can last you a lifetime!

Do You Feel Pain After a Root Canal Treatment?

After a root canal treatment, you might experience slight pain, tenderness, or sensitivity for a few days as the local anesthetic wears off. However, this discomfort is typically minor compared to the intense pain of an infected tooth. Over-the-counter pain medication should help alleviate any discomfort. If you experience increased pain or have concerns, please contact our office promptly.

Post Treatment Care

Here are some essential steps for a comfortable and successful recovery after your root canal treatment:

  • Wait until the numbness from the anesthetic goes away completely before eating to avoid accidentally biting your cheek or tongue. 
  • Eat soft foods that require minimal chewing.
  • Take any pain medications as prescribed by your dentist or endodontist. Over-the-counter pain relievers are usually sufficient, but your dentist may prescribe stronger medication if needed.
  • Contact your dentist if you experience severe or worsening pain more than two or three days after your root canal procedure.
  • Brush and floss your teeth to maintain regular oral hygiene after the root canal.
  • Don’t chew on hard or sticky foods, especially since you may have a temporary filling. Your tooth and bite may feel different, making them more susceptible to damage.
  • Schedule your follow-up appointment for the final restoration of your tooth (filling or crown) as soon as possible. Refrain from hard chewing or biting down on the treated tooth until the permanent filling or crown is in place.
  • Not all teeth require crowns after a root canal. Back-chewing teeth like premolars and molars may need crowns for added strength, while front teeth can often be restored with a filling. The extent of previous damage to the tooth will determine the type of final restoration needed.


The question “Is Root Canal Painful?” often instills fear, but understanding the reality behind root canal procedures can alleviate concerns. Root canal treatments are crucial for preserving teeth and relieving pain, and modern techniques ensure minimal discomfort throughout the process. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding the necessity, and adhering to post-treatment care, patients can experience successful outcomes and maintain optimal oral health.

Wondering, “Is Root Canal Painful?” Don’t hesitate to reach out to Vital Dental Center in Pompano Beach, FL, for expert dental care. New patients dial (954) 406-7524 while existing patients can call 954-781-6170 to schedule an appointment.


Can I drive after a root canal?

You can usually drive yourself home after a root canal appointment as long as you feel comfortable and alert. However, it’s advisable to arrange for transportation if you’ve been sedated.

Is root canal treatment painful?

Root canal treatment may cause mild discomfort during and after the procedure, but modern anesthesia and sedation techniques ensure minimal pain.

How long does root canal pain last?

Any discomfort after a root canal typically subsides within a few days with proper pain management techniques and medication.

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