All You Need to Know about Root Canals

A root canal isn’t some kind of tributary or stream through a swamp full of trees, nor is it a software tool used to subvert a target computer undetected. It’s a type of dental treatment intended to save or repair severely damaged teeth or teeth that have been badly infected by bacteria. A root canal is usually an alternative option when simply removing a tooth is already an option on the table, so root canals are not necessarily always the way to go. It’s a procedure in which the dentist concerns himself or herself with only removing the part of the tooth or teeth in question that is damaged, and this part of the tooth is commonly referred to in dental practice as the pulp. The pulp is removed, and then, it is both disinfected and cleaned. Afterward, the dentist is tasked with filling and sealing the tooth.

When we say “pulp,” we’re usually referring to a tooth that has a deep cavity, but perhaps just as often, we use the term to allude to the part of a cracked tooth that is fundamentally nonessential. Several things can happen to a tooth to suddenly make the term, pulp, applicable, and as stated, cracking a tooth or getting a deep cavity are two ways to necessitate the term. Another way, though, is to experience recurring trauma with a specific tooth or to endure repeat treatment on the same tooth in such a way that results in there being a removable fraction of said tooth. The term, root canal, is derived, though, from the procedure of cleaning the canals inside of the root of a tooth. Root canal treatments gained a reputation long ago for being rather painful operations, yet contemporary methods anesthetize patients and mitigate any pain one might experience to a relatively negligible degree.

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The Basic Steps to a Root Canal

If you’re headed for a root canal in the near future and your grandmother has informed you that it’s Satan’s way of proliferating misery and despair, you’ll find that there’s no reason to be quite so melodramatic. It’ll be easier to wrap your head around the root canal as a seamless procedure once you understand the steps taken to ensure that your teeth are comfortably dealt with. Your endodontist is going to x-ray your tooth to get up close and personal with his or her target, which shouldn’t alarm you in the slightest. Shortly after this, local anesthesia will be administered to the tooth. In that regard, you’ll have little to worry about.

Most likely, they’ll position a dental dam over the target tooth to keep it isolated from saliva and the tongue. This is often a pre-requisite to the bulk of the work because there can be many factors that contribute to hindering the objective. Now, the part of this procedure most likely to freak you out is what comes next, and this is where the bulk of the work transpires. At this juncture, your dentist will perform the pulpectomy. If the target tooth is a front tooth, then the dentist will create an opening in the tooth itself from its backside; conversely, if the target tooth is a molar or even pre-molar, then the dentist will create the opening through the crown of said molar to obviate the infected or otherwise damaged pulp.


Once the pulp has been removed, the root canals and pulp chamber can be cleaned and framed for a filling. As far as the root canal itself is concerned, the filling is being done using guttapercha substance. After this, though, the procedure is essentially as good as complete for all intents and purposes. There may, of course, be a need in some cases to schedule a second visit either due to time constraints or any of a myriad of other reasons, and if this is the case, the dentist will simply use a temporary filling for the crown opening. This just ensures that the tooth is not exposed between visits.