What is Root Canal Treatment?


Painful deep in your tooth, sensitivity to temperature extremes or puffy and swollen gums are telltale signs that the soft inner component of your tooth - known as its pulp -- has been injured or infected, meaning removal is necessary in order to save the tooth from extraction.

Root canal treatments may seem intimidating, but modern techniques make the procedure relatively painless and successful. Saving the tooth is always preferable to extraction; with proper care, a treated tooth can function just like any natural one would.

Tooth Pain

Anxiety caused by tooth decay or root canal infection can be eased with medication such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

If you notice signs of infection such as swelling, foul odour or painful bumps on your gums, it is essential that treatment be sought immediately in order to increase the chance of saving a tooth from its destruction. The sooner an infection is treated the greater its chance of success at saving its location.

As part of a root canal procedure, your dentist will start by giving a numbing medication to the area in your mouth that needs repair. They then perform an x-ray examination to visualize your roots and pulp chamber before setting up a "dental dam" around your tooth to keep saliva and debris from reaching damaged areas; once complete healing occurs they'll restore it with either crowning or filling to improve strength and appearance.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can cause pain and lead to infection if left untreated, spreading bacteria from one tooth to the next and ultimately creating an abscess. Root canal therapy offers one solution for saving infected teeth; this procedure cleans and disinfects the area while eliminating bacteria buildup while protecting both nerves and pulp of a tooth.

If your toothache persists, don't wait - visit a dentist immediately as an abscess can be life threatening and requires immediate treatment.

Root canal treatments may cause discomfort at first, but this can be reduced with over the counter painkillers. Your tooth won't feel sensitive as blood and nerve supply have been removed; however, it still is susceptible to decay if proper oral hygiene practices aren't maintained. Regular visits with your dentist to monitor further problems (including fluoride treatments to reverse early tooth decay) is recommended in order to keep the healing process on track.


Underneath the enamel and dentin layers of teeth lies a soft tissue known as pulp that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. If this soft tissue becomes injured or infected, root canal treatment can save it; otherwise the infection could spread to nearby tissues in your mouth and even heart and brain.

Pain that remains constant can be an indication of tooth infection and should be addressed through root canal therapy. Swelling around the tooth, bad breath and other indicators often point towards infection as well. If left untreated, a dental abscess could form, an extremely painful pus-filled sac that could potentially lead to serious health complications like cardiac arrest or a stroke.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a series of steps designed to save an infected or damaged tooth by alleviating pain and preventing future infections. It begins with a physical exam of the affected tooth as well as X-rays taken to understand the extent of damage; an anesthetic will then be used to numb it for comfort; finally a "dental dam" will be placed around it to protect from saliva and bacteria invading and keeping away.

An opening is made in the top of a tooth to access its pulp. Pulp is soft tissue at the core of a tooth composed of blood vessels and nerves; once accessing this space, contaminated pulp must be extracted using dental instruments before empty canals are cleaned, disinfected, shaped and filled with gutta-percha - before finally being sealed off and restored - when properly cared for a root canal treated tooth can last a lifetime!

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