Reducing Tooth Discomfort Before Having a Root Canal

Tooth pain and discomfort can be difficult to cope with, especially when you are unable to get treatment right away. When you have pain from tooth decay or other dental problems, a root canal might be the most suitable type of treatment. However, you might need to wait to have this procedure done, such as when tooth pain occurs after office hours. Knowing how to minimize tooth pain before a root canal can help you handle this discomfort.

Tooth pain and discomfort

Why You Need a Root Canal

A root canal procedure involves having infected or decayed tissue taken out of the inner part of your tooth, known as the pulp. This procedure helps ease tooth pain and reduces the risk of a severe infection that can spread throughout your body. Your endodontist opens the affected tooth or teeth and cleans it out before filling it. Removing decayed or infected tissue helps your tooth become healthier and stops infections from spreading.


How do you know if you need a root canal? You might need this type of procedure if you have a deep cavity, a fractured tooth or problems with an existing filling. You might also need a root canal if you experience tooth sensitivity. Some signs that could indicate the need for a root canal include severe pain when you chew or bite down, a cracked tooth, a chipped tooth, ongoing sensitivity or deep tooth decay. Your endodontist can examine the affected tooth or teeth and decide if you need a root canal.


What Causes Pain or Discomfort Before a Root Canal

You might experience pain or discomfort if your tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This can happen when tooth decay reaches the pulp of your tooth, which contain nerves. When these nerves are irritated, this can cause sensitivity or pain. You can also develop inflammation or an infection if bacteria is able to reach the pulp through a cracked or fractured tooth. The pain you feel with tooth sensitivity can occur due to an infection or damage that affects the nerves inside your tooth. When your affected tooth or teeth is exposed to hot or cold sensations, this can cause tingling and discomfort.


How to Minimize Pain Until Your Appointment

If you can’t have a root canal done right away, there are ways to ease tooth pain and discomfort. These tooth pain tips can help you feel more comfortable until you’re able to go to your appointment.

  • Use warm salt rinses: Rinsing with warm salt water can help ease tooth pain and inflammation. Mix a small amount of salt with warm water and rinse your mouth. You can use warm salt rinses multiple times before your appointment.
  • Apply ice packs: Ice packs or cold compresses constrict the blood vessels in the affected area, which can help ease pain in your jaw or face. Applying ice packs can also help ease swelling you might have with tooth pain.
  • Take anti-inflammatories: Nonprescription anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve pain in your tooth and other areas, such as your face, on a temporary basis.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, hot and cold foods and beverages: These tooth sensitivity tips can help prevent you from experiencing discomfort when you have sensitive teeth. You should stay away from hot or cold foods and beverages to avoid triggering tooth sensitivity. Before your appointment, you should also avoid eating foods that are crunchy or hard, since these could lead to worse tooth pain.
  • Use over-the-counter lidocaine gels: These gels can provide short-term relief from pain and discomfort by causing a numbing effect. Check with your endodontist to see which gel you should use to ease tooth pain.
  • Talk with your doctor: Ask your doctor for guidance on safe and effective ways to ease pain and discomfort caused by tooth problems. You should also let your doctor know right away if your symptoms become more severe or widespread, since this could indicate an infection that requires immediate treatment.


If you’re having tooth pain and discomfort, contact Largo Endodontics to schedule an appointment. We can help you find relief for tooth pain through root canal therapy or another endodontic treatment. Give us a call for more advice on reducing tooth nerve discomfort before your appointment.