Can music help the dreaded Root Canal experience?


pre-root canalYesterday, I had to have a dreaded root canal on Tooth #4.  I had already been to the general dentist each week for past two week for a new crown and two fillings.  At the last visit to the general dentist, she said that the sensitivity I was experiencing on tooth #4 needed to be evaluated by an endodontist so I went to see him Monday. After taking a 3-D x-ray, he said that I definitely needed a root canal and then would need a new crown. I was really scared!  I don’t like pain and I feel like my mouth is already kind of a War Zone!

I scheduled it for the very next day because I can’t stand to have that sort of thing hanging over me.

The Music That I’ve Chosen for Dental Work

With all of the dental work that I’ve had recently, of course I’m using my Surgical Serenity Solutions playlists, streamed to my AirPods.  For the crown prep two weeks ago, I used the Lullaby playlist; it was perfect with soothing, familiar lullabies coming into my ears and bringing beautiful memories of when my children were little and so, so sweet.

The second procedure, to seat the crown and take care of two fillings, I listened to the Jazz playlist and that was great too.  That particular style of music takes me to my young adult years and I remember college scenes and experiences.

But when I found out on Monday that I needed a root canal, I was truly terrified. The Endodontist doesn’t offer nitrous oxide, which the general dentist does. I just wasn’t sure that I could manage the pain just with Novocain and my music. I believe that this music can calm me and keep me calm, but the jabs of the Novocain needle can’t be denied, despite the fact that they say “here comes a little pinch!”

Dr Cash and Dr Scott NortonAs it turned out, the tooth really was difficult because of calcified channels and a large cavity that was “hiding behind the crown.” Nevertheless, I put my AirPods in and this time I decided to listen to the Music for Memory Care playlist that I recorded several years ago and consisted of music that I played for patients in several different Memory Care units in our area.

It was a good choice because it literally took me back to the days when I was playing this music for patients who couldn’t remember where they were, what year it was, or even their name, but THIS particular set of well-known songs from the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s struck a spark in them and they lit up with big smiles and often would sing along for a few bars!

You can hear samples of all five playlists at

In Conclusion

Dental work is never any fun but you have to do it.  Tooth infections can spread throughout the body and make the body septic, so you must take really good care of your teeth and gums. I try to go at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups but nothing lasts forever.

My strong suggestion to you is that next time you go to the dentist, download one of our surgical playlists at and take your bluetooth AirPods or bluetooth headphones and stream your favorite playlist. It really worked beautifully for me!