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What Happens During a Root Canal?

April 15, 2024

If you've ever been told you need a root canal, you might have felt a surge of anxiety. But understanding the process can help alleviate some of those fears. A root canal is a dental procedure aimed at saving a severely damaged or infected tooth. Understanding what happens during a root canal can alleviate fears and misconceptions about this common dental procedure. Root canal treatment is a crucial step in saving a severely damaged or infected tooth, preserving your natural smile, and preventing further oral health complications. If you're experiencing symptoms of tooth decay or infection, don't hesitate to consult with a qualified dentist to determine if a root canal is necessary. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups are essential for preventing the need for extensive dental treatments.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure designed to remove infected or damaged tissue from within the tooth. The procedure involves cleaning, disinfecting, and sealing the inside of the tooth to prevent further infection or damage.

Root Canal Treatment Steps

Root canal treatment is a multi-step procedure that aims to alleviate pain, remove infection, and preserve the structure of a damaged tooth. Here's a closer look at the steps involved in this essential dental procedure:

1. Cleaning

The first step of a root canal is to access the inner chamber of the tooth, known as the pulp chamber, which contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The dentist will drill a small hole through the crown of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and remove the infected or damaged tissue using specialized instruments. This process alleviates pain and prevents the spread of infection.

2. Filling

Once the infected tissue is removed, the dentist will clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth thoroughly. Afterward, the empty space inside the tooth is filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha to seal off the root canals and prevent bacteria from re-entering. This filling material helps to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth.

3. Adding a Crown

In many cases, a tooth that undergoes a root canal becomes weak and brittle over time. To restore its strength and protect it from further damage, a dental crown is often placed over the treated tooth. The crown is custom-made to match the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth, providing both aesthetic appeal and functional support.

Who Needs a Root Canal?

Root canals are typically recommended for individuals with severe tooth decay, deep cavities, or traumatic injuries that have resulted in infection or inflammation of the pulp tissue. Symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal include severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling of the gums, or a persistent pimple on the gum line.

What Does It Cost?

The cost of a root canal can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the infection, the location of the tooth, and the expertise of the dentist. In general, root canal treatment is more cost-effective than tooth extraction, followed by replacement options such as dental implants or bridges. Additionally, many dental insurance plans cover at least a portion of the cost of root canal therapy.


A root canal might seem daunting, but it's a routine procedure aimed at preserving your natural teeth and relieving pain. If you're experiencing dental discomfort or suspect you may need a root canal, don't hesitate to reach out to your dentist for treatment. Your smile and oral health are worth the investment.

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