Does a Root Canal Hurt? Pain During the Root Canal

Does a Root Canal Hurt?

Does a root canal hurt? Almost all dental patients dread root canal treatment because they perceive it to be painful. But the truth lies beyond that fear. A root canal treatment does not hurt when done under adequate anesthesia. Anesthesia numbs the tissues around the tooth under the procedure, and the procedure becomes pain-free. Let’s discuss it in detail: 

Does a Root Canal Hurt?

No, it does not hurt. The pain of the infection, which leads to the root canal treatment, is always more than the discomfort experienced during the root canal treatment. Root canal treatment aims to eliminate the infection’s cause, source, and presence. Thereby restoring a comfortable and infection-free mouth. 

The dentist takes proper measures to ensure that the patient experiences no pain. Let’s look into the preventive measures and steps taken during and after the root canal to prevent pain.

How much do Root Canals Hurt?

A root canal treatment does not and should not hurt. Pulp is the soft tissue in the tooth’s center. It is removed during root canal treatment. Nerves conducting pain are present in the pulp. Therefore, pain during the root canal is a primary concern of patients. 

As the pulp is removed, no pain should be felt during root canal treatment. However, if a patient experiences pain or discomfort due to severe infection or any other reason, the dentist increases the anesthesia. It is done to prioritize the comfort of the patient. 

Measures To Prevent Pain With Root Canal Treatment

To cater to pain during root canal, the dentist guides the patients in the following manner:

  • Proper counseling is done to help them understand the procedure better. 
  • Addressing all the questions and doubts of the patient before, during, and after the procedure.
  • Advising the patient to have a good and relaxed night’s sleep before the root canal treatment. 
  • Meditation and deep breath exercises before the treatment begins. 
  • The dentist may prescribe a relaxation medicine to prevent anxiety for some patients.
  • At times, doctors may recommend the patient to consume painkillers before the procedure starts. 
  • Injecting adequate root canal anesthesia before the procedure to avoid any discomfort.
  • Addressing the patient’s complaint, if any. 
  • Painkillers are often given to reduce post-operative pain. In some cases, the doctor may recommend antibiotics as well. You should follow the dentist’s prescription and cooperate to prevent complications.
  • Though it’s an after-procedure requirement, the patient should get a crown on the root canal-treated tooth to prevent reinfection. If the crown is not recommended, then follow all the post-operative instructions given by the dentist. 

When Is A Root Canal Required? Can it be Avoided?

If the infection spreads to the pulp, then usually the pulp has to be removed. That procedure is known as root canal treatment. It is essential to understand that if an infection remains in the outer two layers of the tooth, a filling or restoration can be done. The blood and nerve supply to the tooth remains intact in case of a filling. 

You may usually experience the signs mentioned below if your pulp is infected. However, consultation with a dentist will confirm the exact cause. If you are experiencing any of the following signs, book your appointment with a dentist now!

  • Extreme pain upon biting or chewing food.
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot beverages like cold coffee, iced latte, or tea.
  • Swelling and inflammation of the gums
  • An abscess formed surrounding the painful tooth
  • Crack in a tooth

What Are the Benefits of Root Canal Treatment?

Dentists’ approach has changed to “preserving the remaining tooth structure.” No matter how strong the tooth replacement is, the natural tooth is always better if preserved, maintained, and used. Therefore, root canal treatment has multiple benefits, including:

  • Natural tooth structure is stabilized and restored
  • Infection is resolved
  • Pain is alleviated
  • Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold diminishes
  • Restoration of esthetics
  • Oral functions can be resumed
  • Chances of reinfection are minimized

Will they Put you to Sleep for a Root Canal?

No, they will not put you to sleep for a root canal. This is a common misconception among patients. Due to different queries in mind like, “Does a root canal hurt?” and fear of pain and discomfort leads to the wishful thinking of putting them to sleep for the treatment. You know and understand by now that it does not hurt. As stated, root canal treatment can be perfectly done under conscious sedation and local anesthesia. 

However, in some instances, like if a patient has severe gag reflex or is a patient with special needs, then deep sedation can be provided. Deep sedation, general anesthesia, or nitrous oxide sedation are alternative options. However, after these options, patients should avoid activities like driving a car, etc.

Why Extract a Tooth when you can Save it?

It is essential to understand that root canal treatment saves your tooth. The tooth may become lifeless, but it can perform all the oral functions of helping in speech, eating, chewing, and esthetics. 

On the other hand, the extraction of a tooth leaves a space. An empty extraction site first needs to heal and then be replaced by a denture or fixed options like implants or bridges. The process of extraction is justified when the tooth can not be saved. 

It might be in cases in which the infection is severe and widely spread with little or no healthy tooth portion. But if the remaining tooth is perfect and sound, and you can afford it, then root canal treatment should be preferred. 


This article elaborates the answer to your question, “Does a root canal hurt?’ The procedure itself is not painful as it is performed under anesthesia. The benefits of this procedure surpass the fear, “Does a root canal hurt?” 

Moreover, opting for alternative options when the natural tooth structure can be saved is unjust to yourself.

If you are looking for a pain-free, budget-friendly, and time-effective root canal in Montclair, NJ, then you are at the right spot! Book your appointment today at Dr. Arthur Yeh and Associates for hassle-free root canal surgery in Montclair, NJ.