How Painful is a Root Canal? | Tips to Manage Pain

“How painful is a root canal?”

You are not alone in wondering what the answer to this question is. Many individuals who’ve undergone root canal therapy reported extreme pain and uneasiness. 

Although root canals aren’t completely painless, advances in dental techniques and anesthesia have significantly reduced the discomfort. We will investigate the means taken to limit pain during the root canal, including the utilization of sedation and current dental instruments.

Furthermore, we will examine post-treatment pain management options and share tips for a smoother recovery. We hope to calm your fears and answer your query, “How painful is a root canal?” by making you understand what to anticipate during a root canal by dispelling common misconceptions and providing valuable details.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a dental strategy to dispose of irritation or contamination inside a tooth’s pulp. During this procedure, the dentist extracts the inflamed or infected pulp carefully, after which the area is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The treated area is then filled and sealed to prevent the spreading of infection.

The primary role of root canal treatment is to destroy microbes from the impacted root canal, protect the tooth against reinfection, and save its regular construction. Root canal treatment offers a chance at better oral health and helps maintain a practical and complete smile by resolving the fundamental issue and safeguarding the natural tooth.

Signs That Indicate the Need of a Root Canal

Chipped or cracked teeth, extensive decay from an untreated cavity, or complications from a previous filling are all indications that you need a root canal. 

The signs and symptoms listed below suggest that root canal therapy may be necessary:

  • Tooth sensitivity, particularly to cold or hot sensations.
  • Severe pain while biting or chewing.
  • Presence of knocks or pimple-like arrangements on the gums.
  • Gum darkening or deep decay in the tooth.
  • Tender or swollen gums.
  • A tooth that is broken or chipped.
  • A tooth with an abscess.

It is critical to address the need for a root canal immediately. Timely treatment can prevent complications that extend beyond the oral cavity and the spread of infection that can result from delaying treatment. Act quickly to maintain your dental health and avoid further issues.

How Painful is a Root Canal?

How Painful is a Root Canal

Your dentist will numb the affected area using a local anesthetic before beginning the treatment and, if necessary, provide dental sedation to ensure your comfort during the procedure. Although you may feel some pressure or movement, you should not feel any pain.

The root canal procedure starts by opening the tooth’s crown, allowing access and eliminating the harmed pulp tissue. The area will be cleaned, shaped, and sterilized thoroughly. Afterward, the dentist will seal the tooth and fill the root canals with gutta-percha, a rubbery substance, to stop further infection.

Following root canal treatment, the treated tooth turns out to be more delicate and defenseless to cracks. We typically recommend placing a dental crown to preserve its structural integrity for protection. This rebuilding will flawlessly mix with your normal teeth concerning appearance, sensation, and usefulness. Your treated tooth can last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene, giving you a confident smile for years!

How are Root Canals Performed?

To understand how painful a root canal is, it is important to know what the procedure actually entails. 

  • Your dentist or endodontist will first take X-rays of your teeth to determine whether or not a root canal can be done and to look for signs of infection spreading to other areas. 
  • The dental specialist will then manage a modest quantity of desensitizing drug to the gum close to the impacted tooth, trailed by a local sedative infusion to guarantee you are serenely numb.
  • After numbing your tooth, your dentist will make a small opening in the tooth’s crown to get to the damaged pulp. The mash contains veins, oversensitive nerves, and microscopic organisms, which your dental specialist will cautiously eliminate. 
  • Your tooth’s canals will then be meticulously cleaned to ensure complete disinfection. Your dental specialist will apply anti-infection agents to the treated region to forestall reinfection.
  • After sterilizing and cleaning the canals, your dental specialist will fill and seal your tooth. They might sometimes endorse oral anti-microbial and over-the-counter pain prescriptions to deal with any post-root canal uneasiness you may experience. This thorough methodology means disposing of disease, alleviating pain, and advancing a solid recovery.

Tips to Minimize the Pain

Tips to Minimize the root canal Pain

Minimizing Pain during the Root Canal

  • Thanks to modern dental techniques, root canals are now less painful and more effective.
  • Dental specialists currently utilize turning instruments that are quicker and more agreeable for patients.
  • Rotating tools empower exact and viable root waterway cleaning, diminishing general distress.
  • During the procedure, it is possible to promptly address any discomfort by communicating clearly with your dentist.
  • Your root canal procedure will go as smoothly as possible if you communicate openly.

Post-Treatment Pain Management

  • Post-treatment torment or uneasiness is usual after a root waterway method.
  • There are many ways to deal with this temporary discomfort.
  • Your dental specialist might endorse customized pain drugs or suggest over-the-counter painkillers.
  • Basic home remedies like applying a cold compress can help the impacted area.
  • Rinsing with warm salt water is an effective home remedy for alleviating pain.
  • After a root canal, these measures make recovery quicker and more comfortable.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

A root canal treatment typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes to complete. However, the procedure may take up to 90 minutes or more in complex cases. The number of appointments required to complete the root canal varies depending on the particulars of the case and its complexity.

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

Endodontic treatment cost depends upon many different things, depending on how complicated the problem is and which tooth is affected. Because they are more challenging to treat, molars typically carry higher costs. On average, root canal treatment can you anywhere from $500 to $2000, depending on your situation. 

Anoka Dental provides a dental plan which can aid you in getting root canal treatment. 

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Root Canal?

There is a good chance that you will be numb for two to four hours after the root canal procedure. Despite this numbness, many patients can immediately resume their normal activities, such as school or work.

However, until the numbness has completely subsided, it is essential to avoid eating. Taking this precaution means avoiding accidentally biting your tongue or cheek while still numb. You can safely resume eating and continue your routine once the feeling returns to the treated area.

What are the Disadvantages of a Root Canal?

What are the Disadvantages of a Root Canal

Damage to the Tooth

  • During a root canal, the dental specialist must drill through the tooth to reach the infected pulp. The tooth structure may become weakened as a result of this process.
  • The tooth’s strength may be further compromised by removing additional decay.
  • After the root canal, a dental crown needs to be added to allow the patient to use their tooth naturally.

Time-Consuming Treatment

  • A root canal procedure can typically be completed in one dental appointment, making it convenient for the patient.
  • However, comprehensive treatment may require two to three appointments for complex cases with severe infection or damage.
  • Upper first molars, which regularly have three to five root channels, may require different visits to guarantee each waterway is appropriately treated.
  • The entire process of completing the root canal may take longer due to this extended treatment period.

Even though root canals are a standard and effective dental treatment, these drawbacks should be considered. Adding a dental crown can address the tooth’s potential weakness, and the time required for treatment may vary depending on the case’s complexity. You can learn more about your root canal procedure’s specific implications and steps by speaking with your dentist.


We hope we have answered the question, “How painful is a root canal?” If you’re experiencing root canal symptoms or your dentist has recommended it, Anoka Dental provides pain-free root canal treatment in Anoka, MN. Our dedicated team also offers restorative dental services to maintain a vibrant smile and promote oral health. Schedule an appointment with us today and take the first step towards a healthier, happier smile!