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Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?


We can almost guarantee that the words most likely to cause a reaction of horror on a patient’s face is when we have to tell them that they need to have a root canal treatment in order to save their tooth. Those who have had them before are less likely to be this worried about it as they know the reality.


A root canal procedure has been used as a pain benchmark for many years now, but is there any truth to these rumours?


The history of root canal treatment


It may surprise some of you to learn that versions of root canal treatment were carried out in ancient times, and archaeological excavations in India and Egypt have backed up this theory. We can’t start to imagine how painful that would have been for the patients concerned!

It wasn’t until the start of the 20th century that things started to improve. There were two main advances in dentistry, in addition to improved equipment and knowledge, that changed this from what must have been an incredibly painful experience to one that was acceptable given the fact that it saved a tooth from needing to be extracted.

The most obvious of these advances is the use of anaesthetics. This enabled the patient to undergo the treatment in relative comfort, also making it easier for the dentist to carry out the procedure.

The second improvement was the introduction of x-rays. X-rays are routinely taken before a root canal procedure is carried out at Hermitage Dental Practice. Doing so enables us to see if an abscess is present or not. They also provide us with vital information so that we can either plan for the procedure to be carried out here or refer to a specialist if its a particularly tricky case.


The real ‘discomfort’ in a root canal procedure


Given that both x-rays and local anaesthetics are used when patients need this treatment, what is the reality about any pain that might be experienced?

We won’t pretend that patients should feel overjoyed at the news that they need this treatment. Any invasive dental procedure is likely to cause some degree of discomfort. Mostly this isn’t actually pain but sensations experienced by the drilling or manual removal of infected material or pressure when fillings are securely placed. None of these cause pain but it isn’t common for patients to think that ‘any second now’ they will be in pain, as though the dental drill is going to go just that little bit too far. The reality, of course, is that even if it did then the local anaesthetic would block the pain. In addition to this, dentists undergo years of studying and practise to enable them to carry out procedures such as this, so, with the experienced team we have at Hermitage Dental Practice, you can be sure that you are in excellent hands.


Nervous patients


We know that quite a few patients are nervous about their dental visits and being told you need this particular treatment probably won’t help matters. We are always conscious about helping people who suffer from dental anxiety so that we can ensure that they receive essential treatment such as this. We are always happy to discuss treatments with you so that you know what will happen, but equally, we are happy to keep any information to the necessary minimum if you would really rather not know. Whichever the case, we always do our best to help our patients have the most comfortable experience possible.

If you would like to make an appointment with us, you can do so by contacting our friendly reception team on 01530 510533 or by using the enquiry form on our website.

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