How to have painless Root Canal -Bundaberg and Bargara Dentist Dr Linc reveals the truth about having a root canal treatment at the dentist.
Root canal therapy is frequently considered to be a most painful and tedious dental treatment… However it doesn't have to be.
So let's look at why it get's painful.
Cavities in teeth are an infection. It's bacteria eating into your tooth that make the hole. However, most people don't realise that you can't feel a cavity. It is painless. You can only feel a cavity when it is so huge that the bacteria have penetrated through all the hard parts of the tooth (the enamel and dentine) and reached the nerve.
The nerve right deep in the middle of the tooth is like a tiny bit of flesh. It bleeds. It feels pain And it's encased in something hard. So if it becomes infected, it swells. Or it tries to and the process of inflammation, when stuck inside a hard case, causes the nerve tissue to start dying (similar to gangrene).
While the nerve is dying you get pain to hot and cold that lingers for quite some time. You get spontaneous severe aches that may be difficult to pinpoint and at this point, the pain will not respond to antibiotics.
This is usually when you finally decide to visit the dentist.
You are distressed by the sleepless nights of pain. Constant pain reduces your ability to cope. And the body turns up the sensitivity of many of your systems so that you feel more pain than usual.
All dental procedures are comfortable if the dentist can get you numb. Unfortunately, once you are in severe pain, it is much more difficult to get you numb. Anesthetic blocks the pain signal getting from the tooth to the brain. The more pain you are in, the louder this signal is and the harder it is to block. The inflammation from the infection also makes the tissues a bit acidic which neutralises the anesthetic and stops it working so well.
Further, when you are anxious and stressed, you feel pain more. Your pain threshold drops and things that might not feel painful feel much worse.
Lastly, there are some pain receptors that are not easily blocked with local anesthetics.
So how to deal with this?
Firstly, get regular check ups and xrays every two years. Remember that cavities don't hurt until it's at the expensive stage. Getting teeth fixed before they hurt is both cheaper and much less stressful for both you and the dentist.
Take panadol and nurofen one hour before you need root canal therapy. This reduces the sensitivity of some of the pain receptors before the dentist tries to numb your tooth.
If you are highly anxious, consider getting driven to the dentist an hour before your procedure and take a dose of something to reduce anxiety, such as valium, ativan, tamazepam etc. Reduced anxiety increases your pain threshold so that you don't feel as much pain.
If you are normally more difficult to get numb and frequently have painful dental appointments, it's important to know that this is unusual. Some people are more difficult to get numb, particularly in lower teeth.
These patients need both a lot more local anesthetic, and they need it in all places that it's possible to numb the tooth. The whole nerve needs to be numbed before it enters the jaw. The gum tissues on both the cheek and tongue side of the tooth need to be numbed up.
With these techniques, root canal therapy can usually be done without pain.
However, like most things, it's so much easier to do when the patient is not yet in pain. So if your dentist says the nerve has been damaged and you need one, get it done straight away before the tooth becomes really painful.
And always remember, you cannot feel a cavity until it is big and expensive.