What Is a Root Canal? Step by Step Guide to the Procedure

Jul 15, 2022

According to the American Association of Endodontists, there are over 15 million root canals performed every year. However, root canals are still one of the dental procedures that people are most afraid of getting. This is because there are many misconceptions about the root canal procedure. What is a root canal?

Keep reading this article to learn everything you need to know about the procedure so you know what to expect.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures that are performed each year and is a type of endodontic treatment. This treatment is required when there is an infection inside your tooth.

Inside your tooth, underneath the hard white enamel and dentin, is something called the pulp. The pulp is soft tissue and contains blood vessels, nerves, and more. The pulp of your tooth extends from the top of your tooth and reaches toward the tip of your roots.

When this pulp is inflamed or infected, it leads to a lot of tooth pain and sensitivities. It can eventually lead to gum decay if it is not treated. The root canal is a procedure that removes this damaged pulp and then fills and seals the space.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

One of the most common reasons why you need a root canal is tooth pain. As the pulp is inflamed or infected, it often results in a perpetual toothache. Left untreated, the bacteria can cause an abscess and spread to other parts of your body.

Similarly, other signs that you need a root canal include sharp pain when you bite and even swollen or painful gums.

Even if you aren’t experiencing tooth pain, you may need to get a root canal if you have a deep cavity or a tooth that has had repeated fillings or dental work.

Finally, you may need to get a root canal if you notice that you have chipped or cracked teeth. This is because these cracks may expose the pulp of your teeth and will need to be repaired to prevent worse damage.

Benefits of a Root Canal

The biggest benefit of getting a root canal is that it provides almost immediate relief for your chronic tooth pain. While many people think that root canals are super painful, it is less painful than having your tooth extracted, which is the only alternative when your tooth is severely decayed.

Many patients who have gotten a root canal are back to living their normal life within a day or two of their procedure.

Another great benefit of getting a root canal is that you still have the use of your natural tooth. Not only will this preserve your natural smile, but it makes it easier to use your mouth regularly, continue eating your favorite foods, and more.

While you can get a dental implant after a tooth extraction, this treatment takes much longer and your new tooth may not feel as natural as your old tooth.

Plus, having a gap in your smile leads to other risks. If you do not get a dental implant, the rest of the teeth in your mouth may begin to shift and affect the appearance of your smile.

Finally, root canals typically have a better success rate than a tooth extraction.

There is a lower chance that you will have future complications with a root canal and you will have fewer follow-up appointments than if you were to get your tooth extracted and get a dental implant. This also means that the root canal cost is less than getting a dental implant.

Steps of a Root Canal

Both a dentist and endodontist can perform root canals on patients. No matter who performs the procedure, the steps will stay the same.

The first step is tooth preparation. To begin, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to make sure you do not feel root canal pain during the procedure.

Once the numbing agent has set it, they will place a dental dam in your mouth to isolate the tooth and prevent any debris from getting inside your mouth during the treatment.

Next, your dentist will drill into your tooth to remove the decay. They need to make a hole in your tooth that is big enough to remove the infected pulp. As they remove the pulp, they will carefully scrub away any remaining pulp near the root of your tooth.

After confirming that your tooth no longer has any trace of infection, they will disinfect the tooth before filling the hole. Luckily, the pulp is not important for your tooth health once your teeth have finished developing.

Finally, your dentist will seal the hole in your tooth. This is often completed with a dental crown, which helps your teeth function normally. It saves your natural tooth and helps it stay strong for chewing.

Typically, your dentist will not give you your crown until a week or so after your appointment so they can make sure the tooth is properly healed.

Learn More About Root Canal Treatment Today

What is a root canal? It is a procedure that is often necessary if you wish to save your natural tooth. While the root canal procedure may seem intimidating, finding a reliable dentist will ensure that the process is smooth and simple.

Are you looking for a dentist in California? Brentwood Dental Spa can help! Our team provides everything from cosmetic dentistry to restorative dentistry and more.

Contact our dental office today to learn more about our services and to set up an appointment for your root canal procedure.

Sign up for our newsletter