I Think I Need a Root Canal: What To Expect

Root Canal

Given popular depictions in TV and movies, it’s understandable to dread the possibility of a root canal procedure. If you’ve been experiencing tooth pain and searching online for an “emergency dentist near me,” you may eventually require a the procedure. The good news is that the stigma associated with this extremely common endodontics procedure is largely undeserved.

Why would I need a root canal? 

Patients needing a root canal procedure normally have an inflamed or infected dental pulp. This is the soft tissue found within every tooth, containing blood vessels and numerous nerve endings. If it becomes damaged enough, a root canal procedure is the only thing that will allow you to keep your natural tooth.

In spite of many people believing in common myths about root canal procedures, this dental therapy does not cause any pain. In fact, it relieves it.

root canal | woman in dental pain

Are there any alternatives?

The only real alternative to the procedure is extracting the tooth. If the tooth is extracted, a partial, bridge, or dental implant can fill the resulting gap in your smile. This will prevent the teeth surrounding the gap from shifting into the empty space.

Is it normal to dread undergoing a root canal?

Yes, many people have anxiety about needing the procedure. You’re probably concerned about being in pain and unable to return to your normal activities quickly. Your dentist will completely numb the tooth undergoing the root canal procedure using a local anesthetic. Patients are typically able to resume normal activities by the next day at the latest.

Some typical fears associated with the procedure include:

  • Fear of experiencing pain
  • Fear of the unknown
  • The expense of the procedure

What happens during the procedure?

After numbing your tooth, your dentist will place a rubber dam in place so that the tooth remains dry. They will then drill an opening into the crown of the tooth to allow for the insertion of dental instruments.

Next, your dentist will remove every bit of tooth decay and clean out the tooth’s root canals. They will then fill the empty root canals using a material known as gutta-percha. Finally, they will place a dental filling over the tooth.

After Your Procedure

Once a tooth has undergone a the procedure, it becomes somewhat brittle and susceptible to fracture. Your dentist then recommends placing a dental crown to restore the tooth.

The Bottom Line

A root canal procedure doesn’t have to be scary when you understand what to expect. Let us know about any concerns or questions that you may have.