Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure that focuses on the interior of a tooth. The pulp, which is the soft tissue within the tooth, can become infected or die due to deep tooth decay. When this occurs, a root canal is necessary to save the tooth, alleviate pain, and prevent the infection from spreading. Here's an overview of what a root canal procedure involves:

What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that becomes necessary when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or dies. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels, and when it's infected, it can cause severe tooth pain, abscesses, and swelling. In some cases, there may be no noticeable symptoms, which is why regular dental checkups are essential for detecting and addressing potential issues.

Procedure Overview
  • Anesthesia: To ensure your comfort during the procedure, your dentist will start by numbing the affected tooth and the surrounding area with a local anesthetic.
  • Tooth Isolation: The dentist will isolate the tooth being treated using a rubber dam. This thin sheet of latex is designed to keep the tooth clean and free from contamination during the procedure.
  • Access Cavity: Using a dental drill, your dentist will create a small opening on the tooth's surface. This opening is called an access cavity, and it provides access to the pulp chamber.
  • Pulp Removal: Through the access cavity, the dentist will carefully remove the infected or dead pulp using specialized dental files. This process will not cause pain, thanks to the local anesthesia. The pulp chamber will be periodically flushed with a cleaning solution to remove any contaminants.
  • Cleaning and Filing: The cleaning and filing process will widen the pulp chamber, creating space for the filling material. This material, called gutta-percha, is a natural rubbery substance that seals the root canal.
  • Temporary Filling: After filling the root canal, the dentist will place a temporary filling on top of it to protect the tooth from further damage. This temporary filling will remain in place until your next appointment for a permanent restoration.

During the period between the root canal and the placement of a permanent restoration, you should handle the tooth with care and avoid using it as much as possible. It's important to be cautious about the foods you eat, as any damage to the temporary filling could result in reinfection.


In most cases, a dental crown is necessary to restore the tooth following a root canal procedure. Crowns provide the necessary strength and structural support to the treated tooth, especially for molars. Proper oral hygiene and care are essential to ensure the long-term success of a root canal. Even though the tooth is restored, you should maintain rigorous oral hygiene practices to keep your smile healthy. Proper home care is the key to a lifetime of healthy teeth and avoiding future root canals.