What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure

Team Endodontics, Root Canal

Are you in need of a root canal? If you’ve never had one before, you may be feeling anxious about it. Somehow a root canal procedure became known as a long and painful ordeal. But in actuality, it is no more painful or lengthy than a routine cavity filling. 

A root canal is recommended when the soft pulp inside of a tooth either dies or becomes infected. An infected tooth can be very painful, whereas a dead tooth may not cause any pain. Either way, in order to save the tooth, a root canal is necessary. 

Wondering what to expect during a root canal procedure? Here’s what it entails. 

Steps in a Root Canal Procedure

Before the procedure: 

  • Consultation. The first step in any dental procedure is always a consultation. Your dentist will evaluate your tooth to determine whether or not a root canal is necessary. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the procedure. The insurance specialist will also discuss insurance coverage and payment options with you at this time. 
  • X-Rays. The dental assistant will take X-Rays of your tooth in preparation for the procedure. These will help to determine whether or not a root canal is needed and how many root canals exist inside of the tooth that will need to be taken care of. 

On the day of the procedure: 

  • Preparation. The dentist will go over the procedure with you and answer any remaining questions you may have. All of the necessary tools and equipment will be prepped and ready. 
  • Applying anesthetic. The first step in the procedure is to apply a local anesthetic to numb the area. Some time will be provided for the full numbing effect to set in.
  • Entering the tooth. Once you are fully numb in the area where the affected tooth is, the dentist will enter the crown of the tooth to access the inner root canal. 
  • Cleaning out the canal. All of the soft pulp inside of the root canal will be removed and the canal will be thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected. This removes all of the infected tissue, including the nerves. 
  • Filling the canal. The canal will be filled with a rubbery material called gutta-percha. This prevents the tooth from being reinfected and strengthens it. 
  • Sealing the tooth. In most cases temporary filling will be placed and you will return to your dentist to start the process of making your permanent crown which is needed to protect the tooth. It is recommended to start the crown process within two weeks after your root canal treatment. In rare cases, a permanent filling can be used instead of a crown.

After the procedure: 

  • Anesthetic wears off. It may take a few hours for the numbness to completely disappear after local anesthetic. 
  • Return to daily activities. You should have no problem returning to your regular activities, such as work or school. If you experience any soreness after your procedure, an over the counter pain reliever should be sufficient. 

Sedation Options for Root Canals

For patients who experience high levels of anxiety regarding dental procedures, conscious sedation via nitrous oxide can help. The patient simply breathes it in through the nose, resulting in a euphoric or relaxed feeling. The feeling begins within seconds of breathing in the nitrous oxide and subsides within minutes of breathing pure oxygen or room air. 

Deeper sedation is available for patients that require it. Discuss sedation options with your dentist at your initial root canal consultation. 

Root Canals are Easy at Eagle Endodontics

Now that you know what to expect during a root canal procedure, you can approach yours with less stress. If you still feel anxious, discuss your feelings with Dr. Sarraf at Eagle Endodontics and we will create an individualized plan for you. It is possible to get the dental care you need without fear. Eagle Endodontics provides compassionate care for our patients during every visit. 

Contact us today or request an appointment at either of our convenient offices: 

Lexington: 781-863-2453

Belmont: 617-612-5677