Manage Your Dental Problems One Tip at a Time

FAQs About The Root Canal Procedure

Do you need a root canal? According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), dental professionals perform 25 million endodontic procedures (such as root canal services) annually. If this is your first experience with this common dental procedure, take a look at the top questions patients have answered.

Why Do You Need A Root Canal?

Before you can understand the reasons for this procedure, you may need to learn more about the treatment. The dentist or specialist removes inflamed tooth pulp, cleans, and disinfects the interior surfaces of the tooth during this type of endodontic treatment. This procedure can relieve pain and stop an infection from spreading. 

What Symptoms Could You Have Before the Procedure?

More specifically, what symptoms indicate the need for this type of endodontic treatment? A deep dental infection can result from failure to treat decay (a cavity). This can cause pain that persists over time, sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, swelling of the gums or jaw, tooth discoloration, or a loose tooth. 

Do You Need To Prepare for the Procedure?

Most patients won't need to follow pre-procedure preparation steps. But your dentist or endodontist may recommend that you stop smoking before and immediately after the treatment (if you use tobacco products). Provided the dentist won't use sedation, you can (and should) eat before the treatment. But if you will need more than just a local anesthetic, you shouldn't eat in the hours before the root canal service.

Will the Procedure Hurt?

The dentist or endodontist will need to make a small opening in the crown of the tooth and remove the interior tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. After removing the pulp (interior material), the dentist will shape and fill the canal. They will then seal the tooth and possibly add a crown for added protection. 

Even though this may sound painful, you shouldn't feel anything. Before the dental professional starts the procedure, they will numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic injection. 

Some patients have dental anxiety before the procedure. This shouldn't stand in the way of a root canal. Without this treatment, the infection could grow and spread into your jaw or cause tooth loss. The AAE notes that this is a safe, beneficial procedure that can save the tooth and prevent reinfection. If you have concerns, talk to the dentist about the use of IV sedation. Sedation dentistry allows you to rest and relax during the procedure.