Root canals are perhaps one of the most dreaded procedures in dentistry from a patient's perspective. Patients usually ask us "Doctor, will a root canal hurt?" Our response to this is that root canals relieve your pain rather than causing it. Fear of pain is the prime reason patients delay going to the dentist. 

But why so? A lot of factors can actually lead to this:

  • An unpleasant previous experience with a root canal almost scars the patient for life. 
  • Apart from this the stage at which the patient presents with the problem is also crucial. Presence of any kind of swelling, pus discharge or acute pain also influences treatment prognosis. 
  • The next reason most people fear a root canal is a time taken for tooth recovery. In most cases, the pain you experience after a root canal is temporary and can be easily relieved by your dentist's prescription. This pain is usually procedural and not infection related.  

So what do you do when you need a root canal? 

Firstly, a root canal is nothing to be afraid of, follow these steps for best results:

1. Early Visit to the dentist:

In dentistry, the sooner we treat a cavity, the lesser the pain and cost involved. Small cavities often require a simple filling which can be completed in a single visit and does not cost much compared to a root canal. Do not wait for the pain to develop or symptoms to appear. When in doubt head to your oral care provider immediately.   

2. The Speciality dedicated to Root canal "Endodontics":

Endodontics is the specialty which deals with root canals. An Endodontist is someone who makes your root canal experience a breeze as they are trained to perform with accuracy, speed and with the latest of equipment. Although the same can also be performed by a general dentist, a specialist is always preferable.

3. Try not to miss appointments:

Once a root canal has been commenced, always try to keep up with your appointments for best treatment results. Inbetween your appointments the dentist usually places a temporary filling which can be prone to leakage if you miss your appointment.  

4. Single Sitting root canals are possible:

Research has shown that single sitting root canals, when performed in an appropriate case, have results similar to multiple sitting root canals in terms of treatment success. Various parameters are taken into consideration and if your endodontist suggests that a single sitting is possible, do not hesitate.  

5. Importance of a tooth cap (dental crown):

So, you are done with your root canal. What next? The most important step to safely ensure your treated tooth is to get a cap. Root canal treatment takes care of your pain and infection but the strength of the tooth largely depends on the placement of a crown (cap). The moisture loss associated with this treatment makes your tooth more vulnerable to fracture. Hence do remember this crucial step to ensure the longevity of your tooth for a good number of years.