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Understanding Root Canals: What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure

Toothaches can really disrupt your day. They can decrease your focus, at work. They’ll discourage you from eating your favourite foods, and they might even keep you awake at night.

Toothaches aren’t like headaches – they don’t fade with time or heal themselves. If you’re suffering from an extreme toothache, give us a call: your tooth pain may be a sign of possible infection or decay inside your teeth. Your dentist will help you decide on the right treatment for your infection.

Sometimes, if decay or infection has progressed severely enough, we’ll recommend a root canal. Root canals are a normal dental procedure that, with proper anesthesia, shouldn’t hurt more than getting a filling. If your dentist has recommended a root canal, keep reading to learn more about what you can expect and why it’s important you get one.

Symptoms that Indicate You Need a Root Canal

Your teeth are alive. The inside of your teeth is full of soft tissue, nerves, and more; it’s called the “pulp.” Just like other areas of your body can become infected, the pulp of your teeth can become infected. Infected pulp is painful – and may be the reason you have a toothache.

These infections are usually a side effect of decay. Tooth decay eats away at your teeth, opening the pulp up to bacteria and infection.

When your dentist recommends a root canal, it’s because your tooth has severe decay or infection and needs to be cleaned out. Your dentist will access the inflamed areas with specialized tools, clean out the decay and infection, and protect the area for the future with a crown.

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Root Canals Start with Assessment and X-rays


The Root Canal Procedure is a common endodontic treatment used to save a damaged or infected tooth. The procedure involves several steps to ensure the tooth is cleaned, filled, and protected with a crown. The patient’s first step is to see an endodontist who will review their symptoms and take x-rays to determine the extent of the damage.

During the procedure, the endodontist will numb the patient with local anesthesia to ensure a pain-free experience. If the patient feels any discomfort during the procedure, they can inform the dentist who will take necessary measures to address it. In some cases, sedatives may be recommended to help patients relax during the procedure


Once the patient is numb, the endodontist will use special tools to clean out the infected or decaying areas in the tooth. This step is crucial to ensure the infection is fully removed, preventing any further complications.


The endodontist will then fill the tooth with a rubbery material to strengthen what remains of the tooth. Since the tooth may be weakened by the hollow space, a temporary crown will be placed over it to protect it from breaking or crumbling.


Patients who are eligible for same-day crowns will receive a permanent crown on the same day as their root canal. Crowns can be made from various materials, including porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, resin, and more. Same-day crowns are typically made out of porcelain using a 3D CEREC milling machine.


Post-Surgery Care

After the procedure, patients may be prescribed antibiotics for a few days to prevent any infection from reoccurring. It is normal to experience some minor soreness, and the endodontist will recommend the best pain medication to help alleviate it.

Do I need any special tools to care for my teeth after a root canal?

Caring for the teeth after a root canal is no different from before the procedure; patients should brush and floss twice a day to maintain good oral hygiene. 

How long does a crown last after a root canal?

Crowns can last for over fifteen years, but it is essential to keep them in good condition. If the crown comes loose or is knocked out, patients should see their endodontist immediately to avoid further complications.

Ready to Talk? Give us a call to answer your questions about root canals

Whether you want to schedule your root canal or you’d just like to discuss root canals further before deciding if you’re ready, our professional team is available to meet with you – call our office to schedule an appointment today.