The Truth About Root Canals: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Them


Root canal therapy is a common dental procedure used to treat damaged or infected teeth. It involves the removal of the damaged tissue inside the tooth and replacing it with a filling material.

This can help preserve the natural appearance of your teeth, save them from extraction, and reduce pain and discomfort caused by an infection. While root canals have a bad reputation for being painful, they’re relatively safe and comfortable when performed by a qualified dentist.

Why is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?

Root canals are performed when there has been significant damage to or infection of the pulp inside your tooth. This pulp is made up of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves that provide nourishment to the tooth.

If it becomes damaged or infected, it can spread to other parts of your mouth and eventually cause severe pain. As a result, root canal therapy is usually necessary to stop this spread and relieve any discomfort.

Signs That You Need a Root Canal

You will need a root canal if your tooth has become increasingly sensitive to hot and cold temperatures or experiences persistent pain. Other signs include swelling around the affected tooth, discolouration of the tooth, and even an abscess near the area. If you experience these symptoms, see your dentist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis.

Root Canal Procedure

Root canal therapy starts with your dentist taking x-rays of the affected tooth to check for any underlying issues. Then they carry out the following steps to perform the procedure successfully.

  • Anaesthesia: Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to numb the affected area and ensure you’re comfortable during the procedure.

  • Opening the tooth: The dentist will create a small opening in your tooth to access the inner chamber of the tooth.

  • Cleaning the tooth: The dentist will use special tools to clean the tooth’s inner chamber, removing bacteria and damaged tissue.

  • Filling the tooth: After cleaning out the tooth, they’ll fill it with a rubber-like material to replace what was removed from the root canal.

  • Sealing the tooth: The dentist will then seal the tooth, usually with a crown or filling.

Get to know about 7 signs you need immediate dental care.

Is a Root Canal Painful?

Many fear root canals because they think they will be painful, but the procedure is not usually any more uncomfortable than getting a filling. Your dentist will use a local anaesthetic to ensure you don’t feel any pain during the process, and most people only experience mild discomfort afterwards that subsides over time.

Here are the top 3 reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid of a root canal:

  • First, root canals are safe and comfortable: As mentioned above, root canal therapy is safe and comfortable when done by a qualified dentist.

  • It will save your tooth: If you have an infection or severe damage to your tooth, root canal therapy can help protect it from extraction.

  • It will relieve pain and discomfort: Root canal therapy can help stop the spread of infection and alleviate any associated pain or discomfort.

What to Expect After a Root Canal?

After a root canal, you may experience some soreness or sensitivity in the affected area, but this usually subsides within a few days. Your dentist may also give you painkillers and antibiotics to help with any discomfort and prevent infection. It’s essential to follow up with your dentist after the procedure so they can make sure that it has been successful and check for any signs of infection.

Root Canal Failure – Common or Not?

Although rare, there is a possibility of root canal failure. Factors such as improper cleaning and sealing of the tooth or infection of the surrounding tissue can cause a root canal to fail. Hence, it is essential to choose an experienced dentist to carry out the procedure and follow up with them regularly to ensure that your root canal has been successful.

If you experience any pain or discomfort after your root canal procedure, you must let your dentist know so they can check for any signs of failure and take steps to address it.

Benefits of Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy can provide a range of benefits for those suffering from damaged or infected teeth, including:

  • Preserving your natural teeth and avoiding extraction
  • Reducing pain and discomfort caused by infection
  • Quick and painless procedure
  • Cost-effective option compared to other tooth restoration treatments
  • Long-lasting results

Root canal therapy can be an effective way to treat damaged or infected teeth. It’s a safe and comfortable procedure with minimal risks when performed by a qualified dentist.

Plus, the benefits of root canal therapy can extend beyond restoring the health of your tooth, potentially helping you to avoid extraction and preserve your natural teeth. So don’t be afraid and talk to your dentist about whether root canal therapy is the right option.

If you have questions or concerns about root canal therapy, please get in touch with the team at Studio Smiles today. We’re here to answer any questions about the procedure and provide recommendations on treating your teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a root canal better than a tooth extraction?

A root canal is typically the preferred treatment because it helps preserve the natural tooth structure. In contrast, an extraction removes the affected tooth and may require a replacement option, such as a bridge or implant.

Root canals are also preferred because they can help reduce inflammation or infection in the area and prevent further damage to the surrounding teeth. Tooth extraction may be necessary if a root canal is impossible due to advanced decay, abscesses, or fractures. Your dentist can recommend the best course of action based on the condition of your teeth.

Does a root canal weaken my tooth?

No, a root canal procedure does not weaken your tooth. Instead, it strengthens the tooth by helping to prevent the spread of infection and decay. The outer layer of your tooth (enamel) is removed during a root canal treatment so that the infected pulp can be accessed and removed.

Once this is done, a crown or filling is used to seal the tooth, providing strength and protection. In some cases, a post may be used for extra support. The crown or filling helps restore your tooth’s natural shape and function, making it even more vital. Your root canal-treated tooth can last a lifetime with proper care and maintenance.

What should I expect after a root canal treatment?

After a root canal treatment, you should expect some pain and discomfort in the area where the procedure was done. This is normal and will usually go away within a few days as your body heals and adjusts to the new dental work. You may also be given antibiotics or other medications to help with any infection or inflammation that might occur. It is essential to take these medications as prescribed and follow your dentist’s instructions.

You should also expect some minor swelling, sensitivity, and tenderness in the area where the root canal was done. All of this should subside within a few weeks after the procedure. Additionally, you may need regular follow-up visits with your dentist to monitor the area where the root canal was done. This is to ensure that the tooth is healing properly.

What can I eat after a root canal?

When recovering from a root canal, it is best to eat soft and easy-to-chew foods. This includes mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables such as carrots or spinach, yoghurt, eggs, soups, protein shakes and smoothies. Avoid extremely hot or cold food during recovery since your teeth may be sensitive for a few days following the procedure.

It is also essential to avoid hard or crunchy foods and sticky and chewy foods such as gum and caramels, which can cause pain in your teeth. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated during recovery is essential.

If you have questions or concerns about what foods are safe to eat after a root canal, contact your dentist for more information. Your dentist can advise you on what food options may be best suited for your specific needs.

Are there any risks associated with root canal treatment?

Yes, as with any dental procedure, there are some risks associated with root canal treatment. These risks include infection, damage to surrounding tissue or nerves, and failure of the restoration material used to fill the tooth. However, these risks are rare and can usually be avoided with proper preparation and care.

Additionally, it is essential to note that leaving an infected tooth untreated can result in more severe complications and more significant risks. Therefore, in most cases, root canal treatment is the best option for treating an infected tooth.

If you have any questions or concerns about root canal treatment, you must discuss them with your dentist so they can provide you with the best possible advice and care.