In years past root canal treatments might have been painful but that is not the case anymore. Local anaesthetics are very effective and you should not feel any pain during the procedure.
Root canal treatment is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in colour before or after the treatment.
When the pulp becomes infected that infection will spread through the root canal system of the tooth until it reaches the tips of the roots. This usually leads to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and causes swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms can range from no pain to a dull ache to severe pain.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. The aim of the treatment is to remove all infection from the root canal. The root is cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. Studies have shown a 92% success rate when it is done the first time. This rate is around 60% if it is an old case that has become re-infected and needs redoing.