How Do Root Canals Stop Tooth Pain?

Posted on: 19 October 2021


If you have a bad toothache, chances are you've sought out any kind of relief that you can find. When a tooth is severely damaged and in need of a root canal, things like numbing gels and oral pain relievers can help temporarily. But ultimately, the root canal will provide the relief that you need on a permanent basis. If you're curious about how a root canal can do that, then here's what you should know.

The Anatomy of a Tooth

While just about everyone knows that a tooth is made of bone, many people don't know that there's more to it than just the layer of bone. Underneath that hard shell are softer tissues, like the pulp and dentin of the tooth. These are living tissues that have, among other things, nerve endings.

When a tooth undergoes external damage, oftentimes the nerves aren't impacted at all. But with severe decay or a serious injury, where a root canal is needed, nerves can become exposed.

When Nerves Are Invaded

There's a reason there's a phrase about touching a raw nerve. Nerves aren't intended to be on the very surface, and as a result, what might feel like a light tap or gentle chill on a healthy tooth can be excruciating for a damaged one. To make matters worse, some teeth that need root canals are invaded by bacteria, which can literally start to destroy the nerve endings, inducing significant pain.

The Root Canal

The internal portion of a tooth is where a root canal shines. Root canals effectively remove the interior of a tooth entirely. While the procedure is almost never visible from the outside of the tooth, the interior is drilled and suctioned out. This procedure is performed under anesthesia so that you don't feel anything.

In removing the internal components of a tooth, the nerves are effectively taken out. This means that the signal your brain is receiving from those nerves will stop being sent after the root canal. In other words, it should lead to complete pain relief.

Once a tooth is hollowed out, it will be filled with dental cement to keep it strong, and it may be covered with a dental crown if it's in need of an extra layer of protection. While your dentist may provide pain relievers to help with any discomfort while you recover from the procedure, once you've fully healed, you can expect the pain you were feeling in the tooth to never return.