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Root canals have a bad reputation of being one of the most painful dental procedures you can undergo. That is completely inaccurate. Root canals are painless during the procedure and healing usually requires nothing more than over the counter pain medicine. At Dr. Pray’s dentist office in Ballston Spa in Saratoga Springs, your root canal experience will be no worse than your annual cleaning. Root canals can prevent you from needing a tooth extraction which can lead to more problems than you think.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

There are several reasons why you would need a root canal. Inside your tooth is a chamber where your tooth’s nerves reside. The nerve is known as the pulp and is responsible for the life of your tooth. It’s protected by two layers of tooth structure, the dentin and the enamel. Root canals are necessary when the pulp has been damaged due to the following reasons:

Deep Cavities

When a cavity is left untreated, it will break through your enamel and move on to break through the dentin layer, resulting in the pulp being invaded. Once the cavity has reached the pulp, removing the cavity without hurting the pulp is impossible. In order to save the tooth, a root canal that removes the pulp is completely necessary. If you let the cavity progress further, the decay will become infected and therefore infect your entire tooth, causing a large amount of pain and discomfort.

Trauma to the Tooth

Forceful trauma to a tooth can in fact lead to a damaged nerve. This can cause the nerve to die over time and result in intense pain and discomfort. With a series of tests such as checking for temperature sensitivity, mobility and percussion response.


Teeth can last you your entire life with proper care, but due to unfortunate circumstances, the pulp of your tooth can start to die. Your tooth will then begin to ache and feel discomfort.

The Procedure

Root canals are necessary procedures when the nerve of a tooth has been damaged or the tooth pulp has someway been compromised. You will be in extreme pain at this point will be begging your dentist for a solution. Dr. Pray will recommend a root canal to relieve your pain and save your tooth. Why not just get an extraction? It’s always best to save your tooth if you can. If you pull your tooth you will be forced to choose a replacement option. If you go with dentures or dental bridges, this can result in bone loss amongst other issues. The procedure for root canals is quite simple. Dr. Pray will remove the damaged nerve and pulp, clean your tooth, fill it, and place a dental crown on top if necessary. The procedure is done under a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. Over the counter pain relievers are recommended if you experience any pain after the numbing wears off.

Am I a Candidate for a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is a process of removing a bacterial infection that has grown in the pulp of your tooth. This can be due to serious decay, large fillings that are past their “best before date,” tooth trauma, or even a great deal of dental work on the same tooth over the course of time. If you have any of these conditions, then you could be a candidate for a root canal.

Are There Other Options?

Well, you could do nothing. If you go this route, though, the tooth will ultimately become abscessed and you will end up in great pain. Clearly, this is not a good idea, so it would be wise to consider whether you might be a good candidate for a root canal.

You could also choose to have the tooth extracted. However, if you do, then you are going to have to take measures to have the tooth replaced in order to avoid having the surrounding teeth try to shift into the gap. This can lead to difficulty with cleaning, and that could lead to gum disease or even more decay. Not only do you lose the tooth, you incur the expense of replacing it. So again, the better option is to find out if you are a candidate for a root canal.

Will a Root Canal Hurt?

Even if you have the lowest tolerance for pain of anyone you know, you can still be a candidate for a root canal, because the procedure is painless. It is done using a local anesthetic, so you will feel nothing more than you would if you were just having a filling done.

Once the decayed material is extracted, your dentist will make a crown for you that will protect the underlying tooth from any further damage.

What About After the Treatment?

Once your root canal therapy is completed, you may experience some discomfort. Usually it will go away after a few days, and in the meantime can usually be eased by taking an over-the-counter pain remedy. If your pain is severe, your dentist can prescribe something stronger.

Contact Us

If you are suffering from serious pain or have let a cavity go on without care, you may need a root canal, contact the dental office of Dr. Pray, DDS in Ballston Spa in the Saratoga Springs area. You can call us at 518-885-8321 or fill out our online contact form to be contacted.