Root Canal Treatment: Procedure, and Expectations

root canal

Did you just have a toothache? Suddenly it hurts in your mouth like somebody just hammered your teeth, doesn’t it? It may be time for a root canal treatment. 

Your tooth feels swelled or irritated? Well, this may be because of some infection or some gum diseases such as Gingivitis.

 Have you been eating a lot of sugary bites or having been drinking way too many sugary beverages and not wanting to give up on them?

You may find chewing hard and it pains. This may be a sign of needing root canal treatment.

I think now is a good time to go see a dentist and find out the cause of your pain. 

This article discusses Root Canal Treatment and its procedure, need, and complications.

root canal pain

What Causes Toothache?

There are a number of reasons that cause toothache. These are as follows:

  1. gum diseases
  2. inflammation
  3. tooth decay
  4. tooth fracture
  5. cavity

Toothache can be treated at home but if severe bleeding, unbearable pain, and swelling occur then you might need to go see a dentist.

Your dentist will diagnose the cause of your toothache after the physical examination of your mouth, teeth and gums.

In most cases, however, an X-Ray is also taken of the jaw to see any bone fracture or pocket depth. 


Tooth Cavity

Tooth cavities are caused when bacteria in the mouth attack the enamel. When we do not take care of our oral hygiene this bacteria can cause tooth cavity.

To put it in simple words tooth cavities are small openings or holes in the enamel of the natural teeth. 

The tooth cavity appears as a white spot at first, however, it changes into brown or even darker color if not treated.

At first, the enamel is damaged, which can be treated with fluoride toothpaste or by maintaining oral hygiene.

But if we do not take care of the early symptoms the bacteria attacks the dentin, the pulp, thus causing infection and forming pus in the pulp.

This results in either tooth extraction or root canal.

Difference Between Tooth Extraction and Root Canal

As we know tooth decay is one of the most common problems among people. Most people are anxious when going to the dentist, especially when they have a decayed tooth. 

The only solution to a decayed tooth is either Tooth Extraction or Root Canal Treatment. People go for Tooth Extraction when it comes to getting rid of your decayed tooth but trust me it is not one of the easiest methods. 

In case there is decay repeated dental procedure, your dentist will have to extract the natural tooth to stop inflammation or infection from spreading.

Root Canal is an endodontic procedure and can be very painful but local anesthesia can be used to dampen the pain.

In this procedure, your dentist will save the roots of the natural teeth, by removing the infected dental pulp. This save the tooth and stops the inflammation or infection from spreading.

Extraction Process

While pulling the tooth, the dentist or endodontist gives the patient anesthesia and pulls the tooth with a special tool.  The anesthesia numbs the area so that you don’t feel any pain during the pulling or prying of the tooth.

However, once the anesthesia wears off you can feel the pain. 

There is a higher risk of developing inflammation or infection after the Tooth Extraction process, as it leaves an empty space in your mouth. Extraction is done by the dentist or endodontist to treat deep decay repeated dental procedure.

root canal process

Root Canal Procedure

This endodontic treatment is more painful than the tooth extraction procedure but the pain can be numbed by local anesthesia. 

The dentist first takes the X-Ray of the teeth and starts the procedure by examining the extent of the infection. 

A rubber sheet or vinyl is placed on the affected teeth and the adjacent teeth.

A hole is made on the vinyl sheet. This step prevents the infection from reaching other areas. 

The dentist then drills a hole in the infected tooth to reach the enamel, where the infected pulp is. 

Next, the dentist removes the pulp and dead tissues with the help of an instrument.

An antiseptic and antibacterial solution is applied to clean the area. 

In the end, the walls of the canals and holes are treated with root canal fillings.

The major difference between Root Canal and Root Extraction is: 

In Root Canal, the dentist cleans out the decayed path of the tooth and fills it with a thermoplastic material also called tooth fillings.

While, in Root Extraction, the whole tooth along with its roots is pulled out. 

The Root Canal and Root Extraction depends upon the overall oral history and procedure preference.

Root Canal

Root Canal is a dental procedure in which the soft center of the tooth i.e. the dental pulp is removed.

The dental pulp is made of nerves, tissues, and blood vessels. 

Need for Root Canal

A dentist performs a root canal when the pulp is injured, inflamed, or infected. The crown of the tooth i.e. upper part of the tooth remains intact even when the pulp is dead. 

Therefore, to preserve the tooth, prevent inflammation or infection, the injured pulp is removed. 

Causes of damage to pulp are:

  • an untreated cavity that causes deep decay 
  • a number of dental procedures on the same tooth
  • a crack in the tooth
  • an injury to the tooth

The symptoms of the damaged pulp include

  • pain in the tooth 
  • swelling
  • sensation

To confirm the diagnosis, your dentist will take a dental dentist to examine the painful tooth and confirm the diagnosis.


Root Canal Procedure

Your dentist will perform the root canal procedure in the following steps:

Step 1: Anesthesia

Your dentist will place a small amount of medication to numb the gum near the infected tooth. After a few moments, the dentist will inject local anesthesia. 

This anesthesia keeps you from feeling any pain.

Step 2: Removing the Pulp

After numbing the tooth, the endodontist or general dentist will drill an opening in the top of the tooth.

The specialist will carefully remove the infected or damaged pulp with the help of dental instruments called files.

Step 3: Antibiotics

To ensure that the infection is gone, the dentist will coat the area with topical antibiotics.

Your dentist will seal the tooth with a sealer paste and rubber-like material called gutta-percha. 

This step is done after cleaning and disinfecting the canal.

Step 4: Temporary Filling

The small opening in the hole of the tooth is filled with a soft temporary material that helps prevents the canals from being damaged from saliva.

By the end of the treatment, your dentist will prescribe oral antibiotics in case you feel pain. 


After the numbing medication wears off, your gums may swell and feel sore.

Your dentist will prescribe you over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol or Advil. 


You can resume your normal routine after the procedure.  

You should avoid chewing with the damaged tooth until it is permanently filled or the crown is placed. 

After a few days of the root canal, your dentist will take a dental X-Ray to make sure that the infection is gone.

In the end, he will replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling.

If you want, your dentist may place a permanent crown which are artificial teeth made from porcelain or gold. 


What to Expect After a Root Canal?

After a few days of the procedure, you might experience sensitivity, swelling, or inflammation which subsides with time. 

You should consult your doctor in case the swelling and inflammation increase. 


A few complications can arise after the root canal. This can cause new infections.

The reasons are:

  • an undetected crack in the root of the tooth
  • the problem with a restoration that has allowed bacteria to reach the innermost part of the tooth
  • the inner sealing material might break down causing infection in the innermost part of the tooth


Can You Get Pain In the Tooth That Just Had a Root Canal?

Studies suggest that it is possible that you might experience pain after the root canal. Some causes of this pain are as follows:

  1. your root canal may not be healing
  2. there might be an infection in one of the roots
  3. new decay can affect the filling causing infection


In such cases, your dentist may recommend re-treatment i.e. another root canal to treat the pain and other symptoms.

What to Eat And Avoid After a Root Canal

After you’ve had a root canal the dentist advises you to eat soft foods. Food like yogurt, ice creams, and milkshakes are helpful. Soft fruits like bananas, apple sauce are also good.

Avoid eating food that is hard and difficult to chew. 

Things like chips, tough meat, and sticky candy should be avoided.

You should also avoid spicy food that irritates the gums and teeth. 

In most cases, dental insurance usually covers the root canal treatment cost.

safe procedure


An infection inside your tooth i.e. pulp and root can cause discomfort and pain. In case, you face persistent pain pr other symptoms consult your doctor immediately. 

As mentioned above, an unhygienic oral regime causes tooth cavities. If they are not treated within the time they can cause infection in the innermost part of the tooth. 

In such a case, doctors recommend tooth extraction or root canal.

Root extraction involves the removal of the tooth along with the roots while root canal involves removal of the infection and filling it with a sealant.

After careful diagnosis by the dentist and dental X-Ray, your dentist will recommend which procedure can be done.

As a result of both of the procedures mentioned above, the dentist is able to stop the spreading of the infection to other teeth and gums. 

The term “root canal” often provokes fear in many people. However, the dental procedure does not involve intense pain. 

You will feel better after the treatment finishes. You will be able to eat and drink normally. 

Though in some cases, pain, swelling and irritation are caused which subsides with time.

However, if, such is not the case, consult your dentist.


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