Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities, infections, and sensitivity that severely govern the quality of life of the affected individual. A root canal is an extensive process that costs a fortune and may require additional procedures such as crowning the teeth depending upon the condition. Let’s look at what the procedure is about, how much it costs, and whether it’s painful.

What Is a Root Canal Treatment?

Panic is often the most common response exhibited by people recommended root canal therapy because of the deep-rooted fear that it’s a painful procedure and hurts for days. However, the truth is far from it.

Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is a simple procedure that involves the treatment of painful or decaying teeth. The tooth comprises two parts; a crown and a root. A longitudinal canal structure is visible underneath them, termed the pulp or root canal. The pulp’s infection or sensitivity is often the most common reason behind a root canal. Therefore, the procedure’s name comes from the area that is targeted.

The thought of a root canal is scary, as it should be considering all the myths associated with it. Yet, if there’s anything it’s famous for, it’s the relief from pain that comes along with it.

When Is a Root Canal Needed?

Various dental conditions require attention, and a root canal must be performed to eliminate the fundamental cause.

  1. Temperature sensitivity: a throbbing pain sensation or discomfort upon contact with the teeth and gums with hot or cold beverages is temperature sensitivity. The sudden temperature change may stimulate the pulp nerve indicating an underlying infection, exposed enamel, or decaying tissue.
  2. Swollen gums: Numerous factors play a role in swollen gums, such as a gum infection or tooth decay. In both cases, a root canal is suggested to treat the source of the condition.
  3. Sharp pain: Like the previously mentioned symptoms, sudden sharp pangs of pain is also due to an underlying infection that results in tooth decay, affects the nerves, and causes pain.
  4. Discoloration: Infection of the pulp can cause the tooth to discolor and darken, it’s one of the major signs of an infection worsening, and a root canal is considered necessary.

Other symptoms include:

Does a Root Canal Hurt?

“Is a root canal painful?” — Dentists are tired of hearing the same question repeatedly because the answer is one and the same; root canals do not hurt. The next question is, “why are they not painful?” — The answer is simple. The dentist uses local anesthesia to numb the area, thereby eliminating the probability of pain.

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How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

The procedure hardly takes 30–90 depending upon the severity of the infection and the number of teeth. It requires at least two visits, but the exact number of visits is variable. Many people put forward the question, “why does a root canal take two visits? Well, a dentist answered this question for us because the first visit is usually spent opening the area and creating access to the pulp, whereas the second visit involves disinfecting the pulp tissues to eradicate the infection. Afterward, the canal is sealed with a permanent filling.

Aftercare for Root Canal:

It’s vital to follow post-care tips given by the dentist to avoid any complications. The foremost thing to keep in mind is to avoid solid food intake for the first few hours to minimize the risk of injury due to biting on the inside of the cheek and burning. Once the anesthesia has worn off, the patient should restrict themselves to a fluid or soft food diet, take the prescribed medications accordingly, and carefully perform oral hygiene. Last but not least, be punctual with follow-up appointments and avoid practices that may lead to infection again.

Root Canal Vs. Tooth Extraction:

People are often confused between a root canal and a tooth extraction. Essentially, tooth extraction involves the removal of the entire tooth affected by the infection, whereas a root canal will preserve the teeth and disinfect and clean the site of infection. Typically, root canals have a higher success rate and do not cause pain. However, the final decision depends upon the dentist and the severity of the infection.

Can Infection Re-Occur After a Root Canal?

The probability of such an occurrence is relatively low, but several factors play a role in the relapse of the infection. It may be possible that the root canal was not done properly, or the patient did not follow adequate post-treatment care. All of these factors combined lead to re-infection. Therefore, following proper oral hygiene practices is essential.

How Long Do Root Canals Hurt?

The pain after a root canal typically lasts for approximately 2–3 days. If it persists after the specified time frame, the dentist should be consulted immediately as it may indicate a complication.

What Are the Faqs Regarding Root Canals?

1. What is the cost of a root canal?

The cost of a root canal depends mainly on the severity of the infection and whether the health insurance covers the procedure or not.

2. Do I need to go to a doctor when the anesthesia wears off?

Most people experience mild pain as soon as the anesthesia wears off. The pain is concerning to some, but it’s nothing to worry about.

3. Can I consume alcohol after a root canal?

It’s strictly forbidden to consume alcohol for 36 hours after the procedure. It may disturb the recovery passage.


It’s important to adopt a lifestyle that ensures proper oral care to avoid the risk of infection in the first place. The thought of undergoing a root canal can be intimidating for some, considering the misconceptions regarding it. However, the procedure is safe, painless, and effective. A dentist can guide an individual about the complications associated with the procedure and how to tackle them to ensure the effectiveness of root canal therapy.

Also Read: How to Remove Calculus From Teeth