Many people avoid root canal treatment because they are afraid the procedure will hurt. Ironically, most people who need root canal treatment are actually in pain, and over the long term they will find that their pain is reduced or eliminated following the procedure. Now a new study shows that the horizon for pain relief after a root canal procedure is relatively short, with most patients seeing dramatic reductions in pain just a week following the procedure.
Significant Pain Reductions
The new study involves patients enrolled by 62 dentists, including 46 general dentists and 16 endodontists. Most of the dentists are in the US, although some are from Norway and Sweden.
The researchers got data from a total of 655 patients between the ages of 19 and 70 who had endodontic treatment for a tooth. Almost all the teeth (89%) were posterior teeth.
Patients were asked to rate their pain before the procedure and one week following the procedure using a 0 to 10 point scale. Before the procedure, patients had an average pain rating of 5.3. At follow-up, the average rating had dropped to 3.6. In addition, the number of patients reporting “severe” pain–which in this case was considered a pain rating of 7 or higher–dropped as well. Before the procedure 50% had severe pain, but after the procedure, only 19% had severe pain.
The study also revealed that people were able to return to normal activities basically immediately after their root canal. In the week before their procedure, patients reported that on average they were in pain about half the time 3.6 days, whereas in the recovery week they were in pain only an average of 2.1 days.
You Should Look Forward to a Root Canal
Ideally, no one should need a root canal, and we work hard to achieve that with our CariFree treatments, but if you have an infected tooth you shouldn’t worry about your root canal. Instead, you should look forward to it and the relief it will bring. If you still find yourself beset by anxiety about it, sedation dentistry can help you relax to have your root canal done.