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What is a root canal exactly?

A root canal treatment saves a decayed or infected tooth. The nerve, pulp, bacteria, and decay are removed during this treatment. The hollow space is then cleaned, filled, and sealed. It’s a common procedure and can last a lifetime provided the tooth receives proper care.

Your dentist will recommend a root canal as an option only when necessary. Some patients prefer to remove the affected tooth, thinking it’s the best solution. However, this is often more expensive and may cause issues for surrounding teeth. But there are times when the only option is extraction.

After this treatment your tooth may become weak, so your dentist may recommend putting a crown on it. The restoration protects and restores the tooth so it can function normally again.

What is a Root Canal?

Inside the tooth beneath the enamel and dentin is the cavity called the root canal. Within the root canal is the pulp, which contains tissue, vessels, and nerves.

When the pulp gets damaged, bacteria can spread within the chamber and result in an infection or abscess. An abscess can spread below the roots of the tooth. An infected root canal, on the other hand, may lead to swelling and bone loss.


An infection can be due to deep tooth cavities, damage, or injury. It’s worth noting that a tooth may still need root canal treatment even without visible damage.

Watch for these symptoms:

The Procedure

Treatment can be completed in one or two visits.

  1. First, your dentist examines and takes images of the tooth. Next a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area. A dental dam is then placed over the area to keep the tooth dry and clean.
  2. An opening is made in the crown to remove bacteria, decayed tissue, and debris. Afterward, the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.
  3. If the procedure is not finished in one visit, your dentist will apply a temporary filling to cover the external hole and keep contaminants out.
  4. The last step is the placement of the restoration. If the tooth can no longer support a restoration, your dentist may recommend inserting a post.

You and your dentist will plan and discuss all the details of the root canal procedure, including the tooth restoration.

If you're experiencing the symptoms listed above or are having issues with your mouth, schedule a dental checkup immediately. Find out the exact cause of the problem and address it before it progresses.




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