Root canals are an unpopular dental procedure, but in reality, it's without fair cause. Root canals are a useful technique that can potentially save a tooth, preventing you from spending a lot more money and time down the road. But are they really as painful as people seem to think that they are? Here's what you need to know.
The Scary Stuff
It's not entirely clear why people say that root canals are painful. It's possible that rather than actual pain, they're simply frightened, especially by the sounds that a root canal makes.
Like having a cavity filled, a root canal requires the use of a dental drill. This high-pitched whine can make people feel really nervous, especially as it vibrates against the mouth.
In addition, having a root canal takes a little more time than having a simple cavity filled. This is because more of the tooth needs to be removed and cleared away before a filling and crown can be applied.
The reality is, you can expect to experience no significant pain while you're having a root canal performed. The only discomfort you're likely to feel is when you receive your injection of Novocaine, as it will cause a small pricking sensation on the gums. However, even this is unlikely to be extremely painful for you, as most dentists will apply a topical numbing solution first that helps to take the pain away from this process.
Once you're on Novocaine, you won't feel a thing. Your entire mouth will be numbed, so at most, all you'll feel is vibrations.
If you're particularly squeamish at the dentist's office, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable during a root canal.
The first is to bring a pair of headphones and some good music that you enjoy. This will allow you to block out the whining of the drill and may help you to feel more at ease.
The second is to make sure to block out the rest of your day. While you can return to your normal life and work as soon as the root canal is done, you may want to take some time to relax after having a procedure that makes you nervous.
In the end, you should find that your root canal is a painless experience and one that saves you time and trouble. Talk to a dentist about any further concerns that you have so the two of you can discuss them and your dentist has an opportunity to help calm you down.