Root Canal Procedures: What To Expect

Think you need a root canal procedure?

Let’s learn about how these common dental procedures work.

Your tooth is severely damaged but can be saved, so your dentist recommends a root canal. You do not like getting a procedure without knowing what to expect. You want to know exactly what happens during a root canal. A root canal procedure is relatively simple. The dentist needs to clean out the infected pulp and fill the canals. Patients usually need a temporary crown after the procedure. The dentist begins by numbing the area. Injections are used to send the numbing agent into the gums and the tooth’s root. Once the area is numbed, the dentist places a dental dam in the mouth. This isolates the tooth that needs the root canal by covering the rest of the teeth in the mouth.

What is a root canal?

A root canal refers to an endodontic procedure. This procedure consists of a dentist using a hypodermic needle to place an instrument into a tooth. The instrument is a cone-shaped instrument that resembles a hose with a tool at one end. The tool is called the root canal instrument and is used to remove the tooth’s pulp and the infected part of the root. Once the tool is inserted into the tooth, the dentist will remove the pulp and fill the canals. Why is a root canal procedure done? Removing the tooth will heal the infected pulp. The infected part of the root helps the tooth send sugars into the blood. The tooth can send sugars to the brain, heart, and other organs of the body. The tooth is one of the first parts of the body to send sugars into the bloodstream.

The procedure

This is where the patient has to wait. The dentist may have to wait up to two hours before the patient can get the tooth out. To prevent infection, the dentist uses dental instruments to break the tooth in half. There are several different types of instruments the dentist uses. One tool may be a conventional pick-and-place instrument or a curved pick that breaks the tooth. Before the tooth is broken, the dentist is careful not to break the crown. If the tooth is to be removed, the dentist removes the last bone and roots. Sometimes, if the crown cannot be saved, it is replaced with a metal one. After the tooth is removed, the dentist will inject a numbing agent into the surrounding tissue. Then the dentist will remove the tooth.

Recovery time

Saying goodbye to the numbness is the most difficult part of the root canal procedure. Patients may experience pain or a brief period of discomfort. The numbing agent wore off after a few minutes, but the numbness lasted for several hours. It is common to feel anxious after being in a dental chair. A few days after the root canal procedure, the temporary crown will be placed on the tooth. The only discomfort is the slight pressure from the crown sitting on the tooth. If you have any inflammation, the dentist may prescribe antibiotics. You can watch for any new pain or discomfort. If the pain is severe, seek a medical evaluation. You may need a replacement of the root canal. How is a root canal done? If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, visit the dentist.

What to expect

The dentist may perform a pre-root canal cleaning. During this, they will remove any plaque and debris that might obstruct the roots. If necessary, the dentist may use an instrument to check the canal’s condition. If the canal looks healthy, the dentist will proceed with the root canal. The root canal begins with the dentist inserting a dental drill into the canals. The dentist will bore into the tooth using an extraction tool. The drill will cause metal to drill into the bone. The drilling is gentle, but if the dentist does not work gently, the tooth may be seriously damaged. The dentist will first inject an anesthetic. Once the anesthetic has fully taken effect, the dentist may begin to inject a numbing solution.


The root canal procedure is not as scary as it seems. This procedure requires sedation and just a tiny bit of blood loss. The pain can be controlled during the procedure.

Have any questions about your upcoming root canal?