Does a Root Canal Hurt?

January 23, 2023

Root canal treatment is one of the most common dental procedures, with more than 15 million being performed every year. The purpose of the procedure is to preserve a severely damaged tooth. There are several reasons you may need a root canal:

  • Severe decay/deep cavities
  • Cracks/fractures
  • Infection
  • Trauma

Root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp. If this is not done in a timely manner, the tooth may require extraction.

The team at Parkway Dental Care in Kissimmee, Florida has the experience and expertise necessary to perform root canal and other procedures to improve your oral health. In this article, we'll explain more about root canals and what you can expect from this treatment.
350x root canal

How Does a Root Canal Work?

There are several steps involved in the root canal procedure. You can expect to spend at least 90 minutes in the chair for a simple root canal and up to 3 hours for a more extensive one. Additionally, you may need 2 or more visits if a crown is being placed on the affected tooth.

Here's what you can expect the procedure to look like:

The first step is to get you comfortable in the chair and administer the anesthesia. We typically use local anesthesia. However, if you have dental anxiety, we are more than happy to offer sedation options. Make sure that you make us aware of your anxiety during your consultation so that we can include sedation as part of your treatment plan.

Next, we will place a dental dam over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it dry while we work. Then, we will drill a hole in the affected tooth and remove the pulp (the nerves, tissues, and blood vessels). Once the tooth is completely cleaned out, we will clean, disinfect, and shape the pulp chamber and root canals.

Then, we will fill the canals with gutta-percha, which is a flexible, rubbery material. On top of that, we will place a temporary filling to seal the tooth and keep bacteria out. Typically, a dental crown is required to protect the tooth and restore your bite.

Everyone is different, which means crowns are not one-size-fits-all. Your crown will be made to fit your mouth. Therefore, an impression will be made of the tooth and sent to the lab. In a few weeks, the crown will be returned to the office and we will schedule an appointment to place it. At this time, we will remove the temporary filling and place the crown. Once we ensure that the crown fits properly over your tooth, we will cement it in place with permanent dental cement.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is needed when the soft issue inside the tooth is infected or inflamed. There are several ways that you can tell you need a root canal. If you experience any of the following, we recommend that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible at Parkway Dental Care. Our highly trained dentists can determine what is causing the problems and create a treatment plan.

Severe Sensitivity

Some sensitivity from time to time is normal. However, if you are experiencing a dull ache or sharp pain every time you eat or drink something that is extremely hot or cold, you may have damaged pulp.

Swelling Around Teeth

If you are experiencing swelling near the affected tooth, chances are you will need a root canal. The swelling is caused by the acidic waste from the dead pulp. There are several other signs of infection, including an abscess, pimple, or boil on the gum.

Persisting Chronic Toothaches

If you have a persistent toothache below the gum line or in areas other than the tooth itself, you may need a root canal. The toothache may be persistent and ongoing, or it may start and stop over a period of several days or even weeks.


An abscess is a pocket of pus around an infected tooth. The pus may ooze out of the pocket, causing an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you have an abscess, you may need to consider having a root canal.

Untreated decay

If you do not have tooth decay treated, it could escalate and create the need for a root canal. This is why it is important to visit the dentist every 6 months for a check-up and thorough cleaning. Decay can be caught early and taken care of before it causes significant issues.

Discoloration (darkening)

If a tooth is not getting adequate blood flow, the pulp will die. This will cause the tooth and possibly the surrounding gums to become discolored. If you notice that the tooth or the gums surrounding the tooth have gotten darker, you may need a root canal.

Past trauma to the tooth

If you ever experienced trauma to your mouth and did not have it checked because you did not see any obvious damage, you may need a root canal. Trauma can cause small micro-cracks in the tooth. These cracks allow bacteria to get in and cause infection.

Large crack

Large cracks in the teeth create an opening for bacteria to get to the pulp and for infection to develop. If you have large cracks, consider scheduling a consultation at Parkway Dental Care.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Many patients at Parkway Dental Care are concerned about undergoing root canal treatment because they worry that it will be painful. The truth is that pain is what triggers your need for the procedure. Typically, patients receive almost instantaneous pain relief once the source of the pain has been removed.

Do You Need Root Canal Therapy?

If you have a tooth that is causing pain, you may need a root canal. Schedule your consultation with the team at Parkway Dental in Kissimmee, Florida today. We offer a unique combination of expert care and patient comfort. We strive to make your visit a pleasant one.

We will start by doing a thorough examination and taking x-rays to determine if you need a root canal. We will also discuss your needs and goals for treatment. Then, we will proceed with scheduling treatment.

We are located at 1064 E. Osceola Parkway in Kissimmee and 14811 E Colonial Dr Suite 100, Orlando.

Root Canal FAQ'S

Patients at Parkway Dental Care often have questions about our procedures. We are more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Some of the most common questions we hear about the root canal procedure are:

How long does a root canal take?

When you go in for a root canal, you can expect to spend up to 3 hours in the dentist's chair, depending on the location and complexity of the tooth involved. Canine and incisor teeth take at least 45 minutes, pre-molars take an hour or more, and molars take 90 minutes or more. This is just the procedure itself; it does not include the time it takes to place a crown on the affected tooth. If you are getting a crown, you may need 2 or more visits.

How much is a root canal?

There are two factors that significantly impact the cost of root canal treatment: the location of the tooth and the severity of the infection.

  • A canine or incisor tooth costs an average of $620 to $1,100
  • A premolar costs an average of $720 to $1,300
  • A molar costs an average of $890 to $1,500

Most dental insurance providers classify root canal treatment as medically necessary, so most of them cover the cost. However, this does vary depending on the provider. Our office staff will work with your provider to determine coverage during your consultation appointment.

How long does a root canal take to heal?

Recovery time varies from one patient to another. However, you should only experience mild pain/discomfort for the first 24 hours and start feeling better within a few days. Most patients fully recover within about a week of the procedure. If you are still feeling pain after that, you'll need to contact the office to find out why.

How long do root canals take?

When you go in for a root canal, you can expect to spend up to 3 hours in the dentist's chair, depending on the location and complexity of the tooth involved. Canine and incisor teeth take at least 45 minutes, pre-molars take an hour or more, and molars take 90 minutes or more. This is just the procedure itself, it does not include the time it takes to place a crown on the affected tooth. If you are getting a crown, you may need 2 or more visits.

Can you eat after a root canal?

You should not eat immediately after a root canal. This is because the numbness can cause you to bite your cheek or tongue and may cause you to burn your mouth if the food you eat is too hot. When you do eat, start with soft foods, as anything hard may damage your temporary filling. Once you get your permanent crown, you should be able to eat like you normally would.

How to avoid a root canal?

There are several things that you can do to avoid a root canal. This includes practicing proper oral hygiene (brushing/flossing teeth regularly), using mouthwash, visiting the dentist every 6 months for an exam and cleaning, avoiding tobacco, choosing beverages wisely, and reducing sugar intake.

How long do root canals last?

According to research, 98% of root canals last at least a year, 92% last 5 years or more, and 89% last 10 years or more. Patients who have impeccable oral hygiene habits may be able to make their last a lifetime.

Can you drive after a root canal?

Most patients are able to drive without a problem following root canal treatment. However, if you have low pain tolerance, are taking narcotics for pain relief, or received oral or IV sedation, you will need someone that can drive you home.

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Parkway Dental Care Kissimmee
1064 E Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, FL 34744

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(407) 635-1196

Avalon Commons Dental Care Orlando
14811 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32826

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(407) 606-7209

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