Updated: 2/13/2020

Root Canal Awareness Week is March 25-31 this year, and we’ll be debunking a popular root canal myth every day this week.

MYTH #1: Root canal treatment is painful.

Root Canal.

Hearing the term probably makes you wince. For most people, the first word that comes to mind when they think of “root canal” is pain – agonizing, excruciating pain. For this reason, many people hesitate if they think they might be in need of a root canal. However, what many people don’t know is that root canals aren’t as torturous as they’re made out to be.

Therapy to Relieve Root Canal Pain

Root canals have been given a bad reputation as being extremely painful procedures, and this is why many people fear getting one. However, this is rarely the case. Root canals, officially called root canal therapy, are actually performed to relieve pain. The majority of patients claim that they didn’t feel any pain at all during the actual procedure.

Root canal therapy is recommended when an untreated cavity spreads to the pulp of the tooth and causes an infection. This infection is what causes most of the pain, not the actual treatment. During the treatment, the endodontist (or general dentist) will numb the area around the affected tooth so that you only feel very minor pain if any at all. If you’re still nervous, however, you may be able to request sedation to ensure that you won’t feel a thing.

Most people continue to feel better after the procedure, as well. There is still some pain, as with most procedures that require incisions, but the pain is comparatively better than the agony before the procedure was performed.

Where It Started

According to the American Association of Endodontics, the idea that root canals are extremely painful comes from earlier methods of root canal treatment. However, with the latest technology and anesthetics, root canal therapy is nearly as painless as receiving a filling. In fact, a recent survey even showed that past recipients of a root canal are 6 times more likely to describe it as “painless” than those who have never undergone the procedure before.

A root canal treatment isn’t as scary as it sounds. However, if you’re in need of therapy and are still nervous about it, you can always talk to your endodontist or dentist. He or she may have some helpful suggestions for calming your nerves and making you feel comfortable.

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See the rest of the series:

MYTH #1: Root canal treatment is painful.

MYTH #2: Root canals cause illness.

MYTH #3: They are unnecessary if you’re not in pain.

MYTH #4: Root canals are a lengthy process.

MYTH #5: It is better to just pull the tooth.