5 Common Questions About Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatments have a bad rap – they are often associated with pain, long appointment time, and high cost. These are common myths surrounding root canal treatment in Singapore.

If you’re wondering about root canals, our General Dental Surgeon Dr Yao Xu DDS (Minnesota) answers the most common questions patients ask about the treatment.

  • I hear that root canals are super painful!

This is the most common misconception, so you’re not alone! Remember that most patients get a root canal treatment because of pain in their teeth, root canal treatment actually helps to relieve any pain by removing the infected tissue. This is all done with local anesthetic agents that numb your tooth and surrounding gum. Please let your dentist know if you’re still experiencing pain, our doctors will do our best to relieve the pain first!

  • Will I feel pain after the procedure?

For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your dentist.

  • Why don’t I just pull the tooth and save my time and money?

The success rate of root canal treatment is between 85-94% and will last for many years, if not for life.

Removing the painful tooth will certainly relieve the pain, but it’s important to remember that there is nothing like your own tooth! Losing one tooth may affect the surrounding teeth, gum, and even change the shape of your jawbone, facial aesthetics, chewing and speech functions.

  • How do I know if I have an abscessed tooth?

People who develop abscess usually suffer from pain and swelling. The swelling itself is pretty unpleasant. It is filled with pus, bacteria, and decaying white blood cells. Some other symptoms are:

  1. severe pain
  2. fever
  3. swollen neck glands
  4. pain when chewing
  5. redness and swelling of the gums
  6. bitter taste in the mouth
  7. tenderness in gums
  8. foul breath
  9. sensitivity of the teeth to cold or hot
  10. general discomfort and uneasiness
  11. an open, draining sore on the side of the gum
  12. swollen area of the upper or lower jaw
  • The doctor tells me my tooth is infected, but it doesn’t even hurt. Can I avoid doing root canal?”

Sometimes, the toothache will stop because the infection destroys the pulp of your tooth, or the antibiotic helped the body overcome the bacteria temporarily. However, this doesn’t mean that the infection is gone. The source of the infection i.e. the infected nerve hasn’t been treated so infection will continue to spread if left untreated even though you stopped having symptoms.

If it is not treated, the infection can spread and an abscess will form. The presence of an abscess is an indication that the infection has spread to the jawbone and surrounding tissues. Sometimes delaying treatment will mean that you also have to treat (or lose) the teeth on either side of the original infected tooth. Infection can also spread into your tissues like the face, the floor of the mouth and even the brain.