What is root canal treatment?

Date: 19-Jun-2024

Dental procedure to treat infected tooth pulp, preserving natural tooth.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment, or endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure used to treat infection or damage to the inner part of a tooth, specifically the pulp. The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth, it can cause severe pain and lead to an abscess if left untreated.

How do I know if I need Root Canal treatment?

Symptoms Indicating the Need for Root Canal Treatment:

  • Lingering Tooth Sensitivity: Persistent sensitivity to cold that doesn't go away.

  • Tooth Pain: Pain when biting or applying pressure or constant severe toothache.

  • Impulsive Toothache: Sudden and severe tooth pain without an apparent cause.

  • Unbearable Tooth Pain: Pain is so intense that it becomes difficult to manage.

  • Facial Swelling: Swelling of the tissues around the affected tooth, possibly extending to the face.

  • Gum Pain: Persistent pain in the gums could be a sign of infection requiring treatment.

How is root canal treatment done?

  • Initial Examination: The dentist examines your tooth and takes X-rays to see the extent of the infection or damage.

  • Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is applied to numb the tooth and surrounding area.

  • Access Opening: A small opening is made at the top of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.

  • Removing the Infected Pulp: The dentist removes the infected or damaged pulp from the inside of the tooth.

  • Cleaning and Shaping: The empty canals are cleaned and shaped to prepare them for filling.

  • Disinfection: The cleaned canals are disinfected to eliminate any remaining bacteria.

  • Filling the Canals: The canals are filled with biocompatible gutta-percha material and sealed with adhesive cement.

  • Sealing the Tooth: A temporary filling is placed in the opening. Later, a permanent filling or crown is placed to restore the tooth's function and appearance.

What happens after treatment?

After Root Canal Treatment: What to Expect

  • Temporary Sensitivity and Discomfort: It's common to experience some sensitivity and mild discomfort in the treated area for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage this.

  • Follow-Up Visit: A follow-up appointment may be scheduled to monitor the healing process and resolve the infection entirely.

  • Permanent Restoration: If a temporary filling was placed, you must return to have a permanent filling or crown fitted. This helps protect the tooth and restore its full function.

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly to keep the treated tooth and surrounding area clean.

  • Avoid Hard Foods: To prevent damage, do not chew on hard foods with the treated tooth until it is fully restored with a permanent filling or crown.

  • Monitor for Issues: Attention unusual symptoms such as swelling, pain, or an uneven bite. If these occur, contact your dentist promptly.

  • Regular Dental Check-Ups: Continue with regular dental check-ups and cleanings to ensure the long-term success of the treatment and overall dental health.

Long-Term Care

  • Durability: A root canal-treated tooth can last a lifetime with proper care.

  • Protection: A crown or permanent filling will help protect the tooth from future damage or infection.

  • Standard Function: After the final restoration, the treated tooth should function like any other tooth, typically allowing you to chew and bite.

Following these guidelines and maintaining regular dental visits will help ensure the success of your root canal treatment and the health of your teeth.


Q: Can root canal treatment cause eye problems?

No, root canal treatment does not cause eye problems. The procedure focuses on the tooth, which is anatomically separate from the eyes.

Q: Can root canal treatment cause headaches?

Yes, it is possible to experience headaches after a root canal treatment. This can be due to post-procedure inflammation, stress, or referred pain from the treated tooth. Over-the-counter pain relievers, staying hydrated, and resting can help manage headaches. If headaches persist or worsen, consult your dentist.


Q: Are root canal treatments painful?

A: Root canal treatments are generally not painful. Modern techniques and anesthesia ensure the procedure is as comfortable as possible.

Q: Can root canal treatment be avoided?

Yes, root canal treatment can often be avoided with proper dental care and early intervention for dental issues. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily, attend regular dental check-ups, and address cavities and dental problems early before they progress.

Alternatives include dental fillings or crowns for less severe decay. In cases where a root canal is necessary, the only other option may be tooth extraction, which can lead to further dental complications.

Follow preventive dental care practices, avoid sugary foods and drinks, and seek prompt dental treatment for any signs of tooth decay or damage.

Q: root canal treatment side effects?


1. Common Side Effects:

  • Mild Pain or Discomfort: Temporary and manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.

  • Swelling and Tenderness: In the treated area, typically subsiding within a few days.

2. Serious Side Effects (Rare):

  • Prolonged Pain: Persistent discomfort that lasts beyond the usual healing period.

  • Infection: This may occur if bacteria remain or re-enter the treated area.

  • Allergic Reaction: To the materials used in the procedure, though this is uncommon.

If you experience severe or prolonged symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.

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