General Dentistry

Root Canal Therapy Explained - What really happens during root canal treatment?

May 31 • 2 minute read

Root canals - almost everyone has heard of them and many have feared them, but fortunately root canals are not the painful, drawn-out treatments that most patients imagine. Used to relieve pain and prevent tooth loss caused by deep bacteria (cavities), root canals are very common. In fact, each year millions of people receive root canal treatments that improve their overall oral health and keep them from losing their teeth. When you understand more about what a root canal is, you won’t be afraid to take advantage of this innovative treatment.

What Conditions do Root Canals Treat?
If the pulp - or soft tissue - inside the root of your tooth becomes infected or inflamed, a root canal can treat the condition before it becomes too severe, causing pain or abscesses (severe infection). Your pulp might become infected or inflamed if you have experienced tooth decay, tooth damage, and/or excessive or invasive dental procedures on the affected tooth. Pain, tenderness, and temperature sensitivity are all symptoms of pulp infection, but pulp infection does not always present symptoms.

How does a Root Canal Work?
Without treatment, you’ll probably lose a tooth with infected pulp. Using a root canal, your dentist can save the tooth by removing the inflamed/infected pulp and filling/sealing the space with antiseptic material. The procedure is typically completed in three office visits. First, your dentist will assess your condition to ensure a root canal is necessary. Second, your dentist will remove the pulp and fill the empty area. During the third visit, your dentist will place a crown or other restoration on the top of the tooth to protect it and ensure it functions and looks just like the rest of your teeth!

Is the Process Painful?
Though root canals are famous in pop culture for being among the more painful dental procedures, modern technology and advances in anesthetics have virtually eliminated both pain and discomfort from the root canal process. Your doctor will provide you with a local anesthetic during the procedure and will either recommend an over-the-counter or prescription pain medication for the first few days after treatment. Most patients report feeling some sensitivity when not on pain medication, but when you are properly medicated, the procedure and recovery period is typically very comfortable.

If you have an infected tooth, a root canal might be just what you need to save your tooth and restore your healthy, beautiful smile. Don’t let rumors of pain and discomfort convince you to abandon the treatment you need! Most dentists would agree that it is the needing a root canal that causes pain, not actually getting one. In Stoneham, Dr. Doyle is among the leading providers of root canal treatments in his modern and relaxing office. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your treatment options and put tooth pain behind you!

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