Root Canals Explained

Rid yourself of root canal pain now

Would it surprise you to know that having a root canal procedure is often no more traumatic than getting a filling? Despite sounding painful, the truth is that many patients suffer more prior to getting a root canal because of the infection in the roots of the tooth.

The “root canal” is actually the hollow at the center of a tooth that contains the pulp and the nerve. However, we commonly call the dental procedure involving removal of infected pulp and nerve as "having a root canal."

The nerve can become damaged from deep decay in the tooth, a cracked or broken tooth, or from trauma to the head or mouth. The nerve is not vitally important to the function of the tooth – it simply senses hot and cold. Removing the nerve and infected tissue can provide immediate pain relief. Sometimes a root canal procedure is the only way to save a tooth that would otherwise have to be removed.

root canal diagram

The typical root canal procedure takes about sixty to ninety minutes and follows this order:

  1. We start with an examination and x-rays of the affected tooth.
  2. We thoroughly numb the tooth and surrounding area so you don’t feel pain.
  3. We open the tooth and remove the contents of the pulp chamber.
  4. We sterilize the pulp chamber.
  5. We apply medication for infection if deemed necessary.
  6. We seal the tooth with a sterile filling material to avoid re-infection.

In some cases, you my need a crown installed on the tooth. This would be addressed at a follow-up appointment.

Some patients report minor pain for a few days after a root canal procedure while others report relief from pain, especially if an infected tooth was particularly troublesome. You may experience some sensitivity or minor inflammation of the gum, but that should pass quickly. Often an over the counter pain relief medication can relieve any discomfort you have.

If you have significant fear about having a root canal procedure, please speak with us to discuss solutions. We have sedation dentistry services that can reduce anxiety and help patients relax.

Don’t delay taking care of painful teeth in your mouth. With our gentle care and state of the art dental techniques, we can help you have a pain-free smile.