What Happens During a Root Canal? (In Plain English) Posted on September 17, 2014

What is a Root Canal?

You need to have a root canal. Your dentist may call it “endodontic treatment,” but that’s just a fancy term for “root canal.” In this article, I’m going to go over what happens during a root canal. I’ll be using terms that you’ll understand instead of just dental terms (and if I do use dental terms, I’m going to explain them).

Root Canal Proceedure

First, let’s talk about your symptoms. You may be experiencing:

  • Lingering pain after eating or drinking something hot or cold.
  • Pain when you bite down on your tooth or while you are eating.
  • Swollen gums with constant pain and pressure.

If so, you should visit an endodontist who will evaluate your tooth to determine if you need root canal treatment.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?
People sometimes tell me that they’re okay with the cold and heat sensitivity, so why do they need a root canal? Others who are experiencing pain when biting down will just avoid biting down on that area. But, you’re delaying the inevitable. The tooth’s pulp with the canal is inflamed or infected, and the only way to save your tooth is to perform a root canal. Fortunately, it’s a straightforward process.

What Happens During a Root Canal?
First, I administer a local anesthetic and then place a rubber dam across the tooth to ensure the area is clean. Then, I create an access point in the tooth, remove the unhealthy pulp tissue from the canals, clean them, and fill the canals with a permanent material that resists infection. To finish up, I create a temporary filling that will be removed by your general dentist when they begin working on the process to cement a crown in place.

But What about the Pain?
It’s unfortunate that people still say, “I’d do anything other than have a root canal,” because besides the quick testing (usually applying very cold or hot material to your tooth) that we perform to see if your root is reacting, and the prick of anesthesia that you receive to numb the area surrounding the tooth, just like if you were having a cavity filled, you don’t feel anything during the procedure.

For about five days after the root canal, the living tissue that surrounds the newly filled root will be sore. Then, your pain will be gone. Keep in mind, though, that you must be careful with your tooth until your general dentist puts a crown on. Until you have the crown on, do NOT chew on that tooth. Your tooth is now quite fragile and must be protected by the crown before you can chew using your whole mouth again.

Why Use an Endodontist for Root Canal Treatment?
An endodontist is a dentist with specialized training to perform root canals and some types of dental surgery. We have specialized tools, including digital X-rays, electric hand pieces that eliminate the unpleasant drilling sound, and electronic apex indicators. This makes performing a root canal a rather simple, fast, and effective procedure. Using state-of-the-art tools and our expertise, many root canals can be performed in less than one hour.

Call Endodontics in Cranberry to find out more about effective, comfortable root canal treatment. My staff and I are happy to help you!