The root canal procedure steps include removing dead pulp tissue from inside the tooth crown and roots, cleaning root canals, shaping them, and filling them with gutta-percha – natural rubber material. The final step of endodontic treatment is sealing the opening of the tooth with a temporary or permanent restoration. Ideally, a root canal-treated tooth requires an artificial crown to prevent future cracking of the tooth.
Basically, root canal treatment steps are as follows:
Step 1AnesthesiaLocal anesthesia is administrated to numb the tooth and surrounding gum before the procedure. If you are nervous/anxious about having a dental procedure done, our clinic offers nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, oral sedation, or a combination of nitrous oxide and oral sedation.
Step 2Isolation of the tooth.A dental dam, which is a sheet of thin rubber or vinyl, will be applied to the affected tooth and surrounding area. The treated tooth will protrude through a hole in the dental dam, separating it from the surrounding tissues. This ensures that root canal treatment is performed in a hygienic environment free of bacteria from saliva or the surrounding tissues.
Step 3 Accessing the infected pulp and shaping root canals.The dentist will make a hole in the tooth’s crown to access the pulp chamber and root canals. The dentist will use tiny instruments to remove the infected pulp from the pulp chamber and the root canals, and then will clean canals, shape, and disinfect them using special instruments (dental files) and an antibacterial solution to fit the filling material.
Step 4 Filling root canals and access a hole.The dried and cleaned root canals will be finally filled with a special rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. The material is inserted into the canals, heated, and compressed into and against the walls of the canal. The canals will then be sealed with adhesive cement to eliminate the possibility of bacteria entering and contaminating the canals in the future.The access hole will be closed with a permanent or temporary filling. A plastic or metal post may be placed in one of the root canals to help retain the restoration.
It is very common to experience some mild discomfort after endodontic treatment lasting usually from a couple of days to a week, which can typically be treated with non-prescription medications (e.g., aspirin, Ibuprofen, or acetaminophen). During the follow-up appointment, in a week or two, your dentist will evaluate the healing progress.
Remember to follow post-operative instructions to protect the tooth from damage and aid in healing:
There are multiple reasons why root canal treatment is needed such as an infection causing an infected pulp. The infection could be due to an unrestored tooth resulting in an infected tooth. Sometimes this infected pulp can be addressed by the dentist giving prescription medications such as oral antibiotics, however, if that pulp is continuously reinfected, then root canal treatment will be performed. This will help minimize future infections.
Discomfort when drinking/eating cold or hot food can slowly develop into long-lasting tooth pain or severe pain. If over-the-counter pain medications are no longer effective and the symptoms are increasing in severity, then it is recommended to book an appointment with your regular dentist as soon as possible or seek emergency dentistry.
Teeth that have cavities typically referred to as tooth decay and are not addressed in a timely manner can get bigger and deeper resulting in deep decay. This deep decay can reach the pulp where the nerve resides and cause pulp damage, or infection. Sometimes a simple restoration of the tooth by removing the decayed parts may be sufficient. However, if increasing sensitivity or discomfort were to develop, a root canal would be recommended.
There are many factors that affect the cost of a root canal procedure:
Book an appointment or consultation with your dentist today to get a more accurate estimate for your tooth needs.
Root canal treatment may no longer be an option if the periapical abscess causes a large inflammation around the tooth, or when the bone is infected/destroyed. If the bone around the tooth is destroyed by periodontal disease resulting in a decrease of bone greater than half of the normal length.
It is always recommended to book an appointment with your dentist to see if it is too late for a root canal and if there is sufficient structure.