Do Root Canals Hurt?

Do Root Canals HurtA common concern when a patient learns they need root canal therapy: “Do root canals hurt?” This is perhaps the most common misconception about modern root canal treatment. Despite what outdated connotations or media portrayals of root canal therapy may suggest, your treatment will not be painful. In fact, root canal therapy aims to relieve your pain caused by the infection in your tooth’s root canals. There is no reason to fear having this restorative dental treatment done. Instead welcome the procedure to restore your tooth’s health and your comfort.

What is a Root Canal?

The term “root canal” is often casually used to reference the restorative dentistry root canal treatment; however, when used accurately, the term “root canal” actually refers to a space, or canal, within the root of your tooth. The inside of your tooth’s crown — the portion of your tooth above the gum line — contains a hollow space that contains soft tissue. Extended from this chamber are two canals in the roots of your tooth. The root canals also contain soft tissue, called dental pulp. When the tooth becomes infected, the infection can spread into the center of the tooth and down into the root canals. This is when treatment is required. If the infection is left untreated, tooth extraction may be required.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal treatment, also referred to as root canal therapy, is the process of cleaning the root canals of its infected pulp tissue to remove the infection and restore the health of the tooth. Treatment offers a solution to save the tooth. It’s also important to stop the infection, because if root canal infection is left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding gum tissue and jawbone.

Do You Need Root Canal Treatment?

Gum swelling, tenderness, or pain are all possible symptoms of root canal infection, and at the very least they are signs that something is not right. Don’t ignore these signs or self-diagnose, since it could be a severe problem that shouldn’t go untreated for long. Whenever you feel dental discomfort, it’s best to schedule a dental check-up to be examined by your dentist.


With a dedication to helping patients achieve the beautiful, healthy smiles they deserve, Dr. Burds and his team at Gateway Dental Group focus the care they provide on enhancing every aspect of your dental health. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (515) 244-9565. Located in Des Moines, IA, we proudly welcome patients from the Des Moines metro area and surrounding communities.