Root Canal Procedure

While most dental patients feel a touch of trepidation if not actual fear when hearing that they need a root canal, it should be known that while having a root canal procedure done is not a pleasant experience, it can save you from far more pain and discomfort than choosing to forego such a procedure if your dentist decides that a root canal is needed.

Under What Conditions is a Root Canal Performed

A root canal is usually performed in order to repair or save a badly decayed tooth or one that has become infected. Your dentist doesn't recommend a root canal, unless the affected tooth is in real danger of having to be removed or unless the infection can result in even more serious dental problems.

What is a Root Canal Procedure ?

The actual root canal is the inside of the tooth filled with a softer pulp. In a root canal procedure the tooth is drilled into and the nerve and the tooth pulp is removed, the inner hollow of the tooth is then cleaned by filing to remove all the decay, infection and pulp and then the inside of the tooth is sealed to prevent further damage to the tooth.


Most people worry that removing the nerve of a tooth will somehow weaken the tooth. However, once a tooth has broken completely through the gum the nerve of the tooth has little or not effect on the function of the tooth other than to sense hot or cold (which the surrounding teeth will do.)


The removal of the pulp is a necessary part of the root canal procedure in order to make sure that any bacteria inside of the tooth is removed. If bacteria remains in the tooth then it can result in an infection or an abscessed tooth and more pain that root canal procedure itself.

How Painful is a Root Canal?

Root canals have the reputation of being extremely painful, however most patients state that having a root canal is no more uncomfortable than have a filling replaced. Most patients do experience some discomfort after the procedure due to natural tissue inflammation. This discomfort may be increased in cases where infection of the tooth was present. However, most patients can easily manage the discomfort with over the counter pain relievers and most people return to their normal activities the day following the proceedure.

How Successful are Root Canals?

One of the most important things you should note about having a root canal is that this proceedure is over 95% successful. A tooth that has had a root canal procedure done on it often lasts for a lifetime with the patients experience no other problems with the tooth that has gone through the root canal procedure.

Alternatives to Root Canals

While saving your natural tooth is always the best option, having a root canal is a matter of choice. Should you choose to forego a root canal suggested by your dentist then the only option is to remove the tooth and either have a tooth implant or a partial plate to allow you to chew properly and keep your other teeth from shifting. Due keep in mind that tooth removal and having a partial or tooth implant will be more costly than having a root canal.