Time it takes: 30 to 60 minutes
A root canal is done to save a tooth. When a tooth’s nerve is decayed or infected, a root canal gets rid of the bacteria to prevent reinfection and save the natural tooth. A root canal involves removing the infected nerve, then cleaning, disinfecting, filling and sealing the inside of the tooth.
Reasons to Get a Root Canal
If you’re dealing with excessive decay, cracks, large fillings or other trauma that inflame the tooth’s nerve, a root canal can save the tooth before it dies.
Root canals may have a bad reputation, but there’s nothing to be worried about. Root canals are relatively painless and highly effective at not only eliminating pain but saving your tooth.
Signs You Might Need a Root Canal
- An abscess on your gums that resembles a pimple
- Acute sensitivity to hot or cold that leads to lingering, potentially severe, pain
- Pain in a specific tooth when chewing or biting
- A toothache that wakes you up at night or comes on when you lie down or lower your head
Root Canal FAQs
How is a root canal performed?
Many root canals are done in one appointment, although some situations may call for a second. Here’s what to expect:
- We take an x-ray to find the shape of the root canal and detect any signs of infection.
- We numb your tooth and surrounding gums and place a rubber dam around the tooth.
- We open the top of the tooth and use special instruments to remove the nerve, bacteria and any decay.
- We clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth, then fill and seal it with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material. We then cover the top of the tooth with a filling or crown to protect the tooth (this part of the process is occasionally done during a second appointment).
You may still have sensitivity or pain for a few days after your root canal, but this is normal and will go away as the tooth heals. We recommend over-the-counter pain medication, taken as directed, to mitigate any lingering pain until your tooth fully heals.
What is the aftercare for a root canal?
Caring for your root canal is exactly as you should care for your teeth all the time: brush and floss twice a day. If you are between root canal appointments and have a temporary filling in place, avoid eating sticky or hard foods. It also helps to chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
What are the potential issues associated with a root canal?
Some pain in the days after your procedure, or even a feeling of something being “different” with your tooth, are normal. However, you should contact us right away if you experience:
- Severe pain or pressure lasting longer than a few days
- Visible swelling inside or outside the mouth
- An allergic reaction to medication
- An uneven bite
- A lost temporary filling
- A return of the symptoms you had before your root canal
We’re Ready to Help You
At Cajon Dental, everything we do is centered on you, your health and your experience.