Patients choose to have root canals when they wish to save a tooth that would otherwise have to be removed.

Are Root Canal Treatments Painful?

No they are not. They actually relieve pain. 

Root canal treatments are often necessary when there is evidence of a dental abscess, which is a pocket of pus surrounding an infected area. This can cause intense pain in the affected tooth or gum, which can be even more distressing when lying on your side. The pain may radiate from the tooth to the neck or ear. Additional signs of a tooth abscess include a bad taste in the mouth, bad breath, sensitivity to chewing or pressure, and swelling around the affected tooth or gum.

If you suspect you have a dental abscess, it's crucial to seek immediate dental attention. Delaying treatment can lead to increasing pain and sleepless nights. The dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection and may advise rinsing with hot salty water to help eliminate pus. In severe cases, an emergency dental extraction or a root canal procedure may be necessary.

Possible Signs If A Root Canal Is Needed:

  • There may be an abscess or pimple on the gums.
  • The tooth may become sensitive to hot and cold.
  • The patient may experience severe tooth ache.
  • There may be swelling or tenderness around the tooth.

Reasons For Root Canal Therapy:

The decay inside the tooth has reached the pulp of the tooth (the living tissue inside the tooth); the infection may have become an abscess which has developed at the root tip, or there may have been injury or trauma to the tooth.

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

If you damage a dental filling, it‘s important to go to the dentist as soon as possible to get it fixed. Even a microscopic fracture in your filling can permit microorganisms from your mouth to slip between the filling and your tooth. If microorganisms make it beneath your filling, dental cavity can occur. If decay gets to the internal layer of your tooth (the pulp), you might need a root canal or, in many cases, a tooth extraction.

Root canal treatment (additionally called endodontics) takes on infection at the centre of a tooth (the origin canal system). When the blood or nerve supply of the tooth has actually come to be infected, the infection will certainly spread out and the tooth might need to be taken out if origin canal treatment isn’t carried out. Throughout treatment, all the infection is removed from inside the origin canal system. The origin canal is loaded and the tooth is sealed with a filling or crown to quit it ending up being infected once more.

If you have actually been advised to opt for origin canal treatment and if this is your very first time, you could be worried. Being informed about what origin canal treatment is all about, makes you better prepared and much less anxious. Root canal treatment becomes needed when the tooth pulp becomes irritated or infected, resulting in severe tooth discomfort and, at some point, damaging the pulp. Root canal treatment conserves the tooth and eliminates the discomfort.

It prevails to obtain severe jaw discomfort after origin canal. One of the most typical cause is the period for which the mouth is opened during the origin canal treatment. Any injury brought on by the instruments used in the treatment to the surrounding locations of canal might additionally be a factor behind the discomfort. Jaw discomfort on one side might show the impact of the origin canal at the particular area.

Caps, additionally referred to as crowns, might be needed when the exposed part of the tooth is harmed however the roots are structurally sound. Lots of things can trigger damages to the surface area of the tooth, such as grinding, aging, an incorrect bite, old fillings or dental cavity. Including a cap in addition to the harmed tooth can help provide the durability and strength that was otherwise missing and give it a smooth, healthy and balanced look.

Crowns are often classified as cosmetic when employed to enhance the appearance of an unattractive tooth. However, they are generally not categorized as cosmetic when used to restore a deteriorating tooth or to cover the gap resulting from a root canal procedure.

A dental crown might be needed to help recover the functionality of a tooth. For example, to protect or hold together a harmed or deteriorated tooth, to replace a missing tooth (the crown covers the dental implant), or recover a tooth adhering to a root canal.

Root Canal Re-Treatment

Are Root Canal Re-Treatments Common?

Yes they are. They often happen after a failed root canal treatment.

With the correct care after a root canal, most teeth will last as long as natural teeth. However, some teeth that have had endodontic treatment (a root canal) fail to heal and may become re-infected. The tooth may become painful and infected months or even years after treatment.

If your previous root canal has developed new problems then you have a second chance. Another endodontic treatment may have to be performed in order to save your tooth.

There May Be A Variety Of Reasons For This Happening:

  • The narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
  • The dentist was not able to treat the first root canal properly due to complicated root canal anatomy.
  • Saliva contaminated the tooth during the first restoration.

However you may have a second chance to save your tooth with endodontic treatment.

In some cases it may be for different reasons that the previous root canals has failed.


New decay in the tooth can expose the inside of the tooth root canal filling to bacteria which causes a fresh infection.

A loose, cracked, broken or loose crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.

The tooth sustains fracture.

The dentist will discuss your treatment options and if you choose the re-treatment option he will reopen the tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. In some cases the post, core and restorative crown material must be taken apart and removed in order to gain access to the root canals.

Once the dentist cleans the root canals and once they are clearly examined using strong magnification, he will search for additional canals or root canal anatomy that will require special treatment.

The dentist will then fill the root canals and seal them by placing a temporary filling in the tooth. If the canals are unusually narrow then the patient will need endodontic surgery and he will be referred to an endodontist

Once the treatment is completed the patient will be required to return to the dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to restore it to its full function.

If you have a really complicated root canal treatment to be performed we will send you to an endodontist.   

 What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

The root canal procedure will require one or more appointment that can be performed by one of the dentists at Steinway Family Dental Center.

When the tooth is numbed, the dentist will place a rubber dam (rubber protection) around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An opening is made at the top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed inside the opening one at a time. These remove the pulp, the nerve tissue and any bacteria inside here. If there is decay inside it will be removed with special dental instrument.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned of all bacteria and debris it is then sealed with a permanent filling. The patient may need additional appointments.

The dentist usually waits one week and then he fills the roots and the cavity with special dental materials taking care to seal the tooth completely. The dentist places a filling to cover the opening on the top of the tooth. This prevents the tooth from breaking and protects it restoring the tooth to its full function.

Once the root canal treatment has finished the tooth may still be sensitive for a while. Eventually this sensitivity will subside as the inflammation inside the tooth reduces and the tooth begins to heal.

The patient must practice good oral hygiene practices and regular visits will aid the life of the root canal.


What is the process during a root canal?

Step 1

Initially the dentist will administer local anesthesia in order to numb the tooth that is to be treated and the tissue in the surrounding area. If the pulp in the patients tooth is inflamed it may be very painful. If this is the case the dentist will take his time to get it numb and will not start treatment until it is actually numb.

Step 2

An access hole is drilled by the dentist through the biting surface of an affected tooth or he may go in through a front tooth. This will allow access to the pulp chamber and the actual root canals that will be treated.

Step 3

The dentist will remove the diseased and dead pulp tissue in the root canals of the tooth using an instrument that is used to clean out the root canals and pulp chamber. This will not be painful to the patient given the fact that the area will be numb and that the material being removed is already dead or decaying. The pulp is then removed along with the nerves contained in it and the patients can no longer feel pain in this tooth.

Step 4

The dentist will then disinfect with antiseptic and anti-bacterial solutions in the canals of the tooth making sure that there is no debris or decaying matter left in the root canals.

Step 5

The canals of the tooth are then shaped with tiny flexible instruments. This allows the root canals to receive fillings. The root canals are washed and sealed one last time in order to remove any debris. Afterwards they are then sealed using a special material.

Step 6

Fillings that will exactly fill into the freshly prepared root canals are selected. The dentist uses a special material called ‘gutta-percha’ that is used to fill in the canal space. This thermoplastic material is heated and then compressed into the walls of the root canals forcing them to be sealed. The dentist then uses adhesive cement and combined with the 'gutta-percha' the prepared canal space becomes filled. The sealing of the root canals is a critical part of the treatment and can prevent them from becoming re-infected with bacteria.

Step 7

The dentist will  then place a temporary filling material that will seal the access hole made by the dentist that he used to treat the root canals. If the patients tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold a restoration (filling) then he will place material made of metal or a very strong plastic into one of the canals inside the tooth to help retain it.

Step 8

What happens after the root canals are treated?

The root canal filling that is used (gutta percha) is placed into the root canals and then the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling to protect it from contamination. Then a crown is placed over the tooth to seal and protect it from recontamination and future damage.

Once the procedure has been completed, an antibiotic is prescribed that will treat or prevent infection. The dentist or endodontist will give you specific instructions that you must follow carefully. Patients will experience minor discomfort after the treatment including slight soreness. This can be alleviated using medications or prescription painkillers.

Step 9 

Once your treatment has been completed you will need a permanent restoration – either a filling or a crown – that will provide a complete seal to the top of your tooth. The dentist or endodontist will determine which type of restoration will be best for you. The reason why this is so important is that many studies on root canal procedures show that if the root canals are recontaminated from bacteria in the mouth then there could be the chance of a recurring infection on the patients tooth again.

What To Do If You Need Root Canal Treatment.

If you are experiencing pain and think that you may have an infected root canal then call our office for an appointment. We will fit you into our schedule and make sure that we can alleviate and stop the pain. From here we will treat the condition. 

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What is a root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is based on the anatomy of the tooth. The tooth has a crown portion, which is visible when you open your mouth and look in the mirror, and a supporting part known as the root, which sits inside your gums and bone. The root is not a solid block of bone, but has a soft structure in the center that is occupied by blood vessels and nerve tissue. The vessels feed your tooth, and the nerve tissue reports on sensory information. Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve gets sick or insulted by bacteria or decay and needs to be treated. Damaged nerves can't regenerate themselves, so we need to remove them from the tooth. This involves cleaning the nerve channel, removing the nerve, and putting an inert material in the space the nerve used to occupy.

What are some signs that indicate I may need a root canal?

If you have pain, especially pain that wakes you up at night, you may need a root canal. Sensitivity to temperature, particularly hot temperatures, is another sign. If you drink something hot and feel your tooth pulsating, you likely need a root canal. Another possibility is that the tooth has a necrotic (dead) pulp or nerve, which could cause a cyst to form underneath the tooth. In this case, a root canal would be needed to trick the body into accepting the tooth as normal again.

Can a root canal save a cracked tooth?

A root canal can potentially save a cracked tooth depending on the type of fracture. If the fracture is horizontal and doesn't go completely through the root, then a root canal may save the tooth.

When is it too late for a root canal?

It is too late for a root canal when the roots are completely fractured or when the coronal portion is no longer visible and the entire root is underneath the gum line.

What happens during a root canal?

During a root canal, the patient is made numb before the decayed part of the tooth is removed, providing access straight into the nerve. The damaged nerve tissue is then removed, the canal is cleaned, and it is sealed with an inert material.

How long does the root canal take?

The duration of a root canal depends on the skills of the doctor and the number of canals that need treatment, as well as on patient cooperation. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Will I need a dental crown after a root canal?

Almost always, yes. Without the nerve inside the tooth, the tooth does not receive nourishment and becomes weaker. A crown provides extra protection and is advisable if there is decay and a big chunk of the tooth is missing.

What type of anesthesia will be used during a root canal procedure?

A local anesthetic will be used during the root canal procedure, numbing only the tooth being treated and the surrounding area of the mouth.

How safe is a root canal?

A root canal is very safe, with few complications and a success rate of about 99%.

How do I prepare for a root canal?

To prepare for a root canal, it is suggested that you have a good protein breakfast in the morning and try to relax.

How will I feel after a root canal?

After a root canal, you may be a little sore, but you won't be incapacitated and can resume normal activities.

Will my tooth be sensitive after a root canal?

Your tooth may be a little sensitive to touch after a root canal, but not to temperature.

What is the best way to recover after a root canal?

The best way to recover after a root canal is to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the procedure was done, take prescribed antibiotics, and only take painkillers if necessary.

Root canal treatment vs. dental implants: what are the pros and cons for each?

Root canals are done on teeth that need treatment but can be saved, while implants replace missing teeth. If you value preserving your teeth, then a root canal is the best option. However, if it's too late to save the tooth, an implant is the solution.

Why are dental crowns recommended after a root canal?

Dental crowns are recommended after a root canal because the tooth becomes brittle. The crown protects the tooth from further damage.

How much does a root canal treatment cost?

The cost of a root canal treatment depends on the number of canals on the tooth. If you do need a root canal, it's important to understand that the treatment involves more than just the root canal procedure. After the root canal, you would require a crown to be placed on the tooth. Additionally, there's another procedure we haven't discussed yet, known as a post-core.

A post-core is essentially a gold screw that is inserted into the largest canal within the tooth. This screw helps to retain the filling, and a crown can be placed over it. So, there are multiple steps involved in the process. I would strongly recommend speaking with your dentist to determine the total cost of the necessary procedures. The most expensive root canal is the one you don't actually need. Therefore, it's advisable to consult with your dentist to ascertain whether the procedure is truly required before succumbing to fear.

If you don't have a dentist, you are welcome to visit our clinic, and we can help you assess whether a root canal is necessary and provide an estimate of the associated costs before proceeding with the treatment. If you have any more questions regarding root canals or if you're unsure whether you need one, please don't hesitate to contact us at Steinway Family Dental Center. You can reach us at (276) 288-8721, or you can request an appointment online. Our team will promptly respond, and you can schedule a visit to discuss your root canal needs.