How Much Pain Relief Is Needed for a Root Canal?

5 January 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

The basic theory behind root canals isn't all that complicated. The pulp (nerve) inside your tooth has become infected, and the condition is irreversible. The problem is solved by removing the pulp, thoroughly cleaning its chamber, and then packing the empty chamber with an appropriate filling material—usually gutta-percha, which is a type of latex. The tooth is then closed with a filling, often followed by a dental crown. What can be more difficult to consider is what a root canal is going to feel like. Will it hurt? Should you be sedated for the procedure?

Sleep Dentistry

Partial sedation may be beneficial for some patients, but complete sedation is rarely necessary. If your dentist has recommended complete sedation (sleep dentistry), there's going to be a good reason for that. It's often due to a secondary, unrelated condition. This can include anxiety, and conditions that can result in involuntary movements such as Parkinson's disease. If your dentist is recommending full sedation but you're unsure why be sure to ask.

Partial Sedation

Some patients might appreciate partial sedation. This generally involves an inhalant like nitrous oxide (known as laughing gas) or an oral sedative. Partial sedation is known as conscious sedation, as you remain awake throughout the process—albeit in a highly relaxed state. This form of sedation is not quite necessary for a root canal but can be recommended in isolated cases, such as for patients with a low pain threshold.

Pain Relief

Most patients won't require any form of sedation. This isn't to suggest that the procedure will be performed without the aid of medication. Pain relief is mandatory. A local anesthetic (typically novocaine or a comparable topical anesthetic) will be provided, and this will provide more than adequate pain relief while your root canal is performed. As the effects of this medication subside, you will immediately transition to the at-home pain relief that has been recommended by your dentist.

Over-the-Counter Pain Relief

This at-home pain relief is unlikely to require a prescription. The discomfort associated with a root canal isn't severe enough to warrant this level of pain relief, and an over-the-counter product will be sufficient. Your dosage will taper off in the coming days until no further pain relief is needed. The recommended form of pain relief is likely to have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to manage your discomfort while also reducing any swelling.

An effective anesthetic will be provided before your root canal treatment, with sedation being offered as needed. If you suspect that you will require more involved pain relief, be sure to discuss the matter with dental services like Laveen Smiles.