If you need a root canal, this explainer video might calm your (dead) nerves

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/27/if-you-need-a-root-canal-this.html

I had a root canal two weeks ago and the only thing remotely painful was getting shot up with Novocaine, and that was just a minor annoyance. I almost fell asleep a couple times during the procedure, which took almost two hours. The pain from the abscessed tooth was was 50 times worse than the actual root canal. Probably much more than that, as the root canal didn’t really hurt at all. My mouth was a little sore for a day, but that was it. Don’t be afraid. It will make you feel much, much better.

Now that I think about it, the cost was pretty painful, though.


OOOOWWWWWW!!! I don’t even…

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AKA tooth lobotomy.

I lost a molar due to a rare and terrible sinusitis (odontogenic sinusitis, so rare, the surgery was filmed and used now at the local college for educational purposes, go figure…), and the neighbouring molar was dead inside because of the same issue. To save at least that one, I got a root canal.

It was painless, the main (2nd of 3) procedure took a long time though. It cost me $400 four years ago, in Costa Rica. Could have gotten it for free if I used the health & social security system, but it is a bit slower to get an appointment, and the endodontist was friends with the other dentist, so, better that way.


Just make sure you don’t have to do much talking in front of an audience afterwards.

Carla, I think you need a better dentist. I’ve had several root canals over the years and they’ve all been painless. (Uncomfortable of course, but not painful.)

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First 15 minutes: AHHH, she’s drilling into my face!
Remaining 1hr 45min: Ahhh… This is the most restful experience I’ve had in weeks! Nothing to do but relax; people fretting over me; a bright yellow light shining down on my closed eyes.

(wait, now I’m drowning! Oh, here comes the suction. s’OK)


I had a tooth go on a long journey through first getting a filling, then cracking on a poorly cooked piece of bow tie pasta, followed by a crown that later cracked, followed by a root canal, and then infection because the filling ended up poking out of the bottom of one of the three roots, and finally an extraction.

By the end of it all, I could have probably bought a pretty decent car with all the money that was spent on, what is now, an empty hole in my mouth.

Another thing this video neglects to mention is the possibility of having twisty roots; which that tooth had, making it so much harder to work with. It took almost four hours for them to finish the root canal.

Take care of your teeth, kids.


I went for a root canal about 7 years ago, and everyone who knew about it went to great pains (heh) to tell me how awful an experience it was, and how painful it would be, and how it was going to hurt for days afterwards.

When I got there, it was 5 minutes of putting in all of the equipment and the rubber seal around the tooth, 4 seconds of “drill goes in, loud noise, drill comes back out”, and then another 10 minutes of cleanup, packing gauze into the hole (so they could put in a post the next day) and done.

No anaesthetic, no pain, nothing. Also no nerve left in the tooth at that point, but I’m not going to complain.

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Make sure your dental plan pays for this, kids. A lot of them don’t, and the procedure isn’t cheap.


been there too…For just one tooth I’ve had 3 root canals, an incredibly nasty infection and abscess requiring extraction and bone graft, and 3 failed implants (the full process too…bone graft -> wait 3 months to heal -> implant -> wait 6 months -> implant fails -> repeat). The last 2 years has been a nightmare.

Surgeon says implants are 96% successful…and he’s never seen 3 failures before. Guess I’m in the the other 4%.

Yes, take care of your teeth now…they need to last your entire life.


Over the years I’ve had some root canals…sure painless…in the same sense that deep throating a hand drill and mouthful of strange hardware plus a fist down your throat is painless.

you, and this video, give me hope. i have to get two of them done, probably in 2019, and all i’ve heard is horror stories and it’s got me super nervous about it.

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Bro? you’re in like, the last .04%, if not more. I also have never heard of an implant failing that many times. The first time? not enough growth. The second time, they use a much wider “screw”…the third time? I have no idea is to be done there besides removal.

Are you sure you don’t have some sort of autoimmune disorder, or critical shortage of something?
Like, you know…scurvy, or piracy related scurvy.

Bah, no worries mate: unless you react badly to the anesthetic, the worst part will be your own anxiety. Nothing more. It’s just a matter of chilling out and waiting for the procedure to finish. Maybe they’ll let you listen to your mp3 player.

Maybe watch that scene from the recent cyberpunk 2077 gameplay reveal? You know the one, where V gets some new chrome installed.


I had a few done in the early Eighties, absolutely horrific painful experiences, each one. Now that I’m old enough for my many early fillings to start failing, I’ve had four or five in the past 7 years. All nearly or completely pain-free.

The endodontist said they’ve made great strides with anesthetic since the eighties. I think the horror stories you’ve heard are from folks who got them done in the olden days, or, like some of the Boingers here, had complications.

But, yeah, they are painfully expensive. I’d have a Serge Modular in my studio if it hadn’t been for those stupid root canals.

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My root canal was much more pleasant than the bad root that led to me getting the root canal. THAT was some epic-level bad shit.

Water piks are good things. So is flossing. I do those regularly… now. :grimacing:

I had a root canal done and mid-job I started giggling. The Dr ask if everything was ok and I said I was just thinking how damn painful this must have been before good drugs.

I’ve had a few things done lately and the only remotely painful part of any of it is keeping my jaw open for that long. I’ve got a smaller mouth and a very strong tongue. Ugh. That part sucks.