15 Nov 2022
November 15, 2022

What to Expect When You Get a Root Canal

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Root canals are common dental procedures, but when you have had healthy oral hygiene for most of your life and you suddenly need to have a major dental procedure, it can be scary. We are here to put you at ease and walk you through what a root canal is and how they are typically performed. 

What is a root canal?

Root canals are performed to eliminate the damage in your tooth’s roots while preserving your natural tooth. A root canal becomes necessary when the soft tissue inside and surrounding one of your teeth becomes infected or inflamed. 

During the procedure, the damaged tissue is removed, and your tooth is sealed so that new bacteria cannot enter it. 

Root canals can vary depending on the extent of the damage, with procedures as short as 90 minutes and up to three hours. While most root canals can be performed in one dental appointment, some may take two. Both dentists and endodontists can perform root canals, but endodontists have more specialized training in treating root canals. 

How do I know if I need a root canal?

Every single tooth in your mouth has a pulp, which is the living tissue inside of the root that connects it to your bone and gums. The pulp is important and is filled with blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. However, that pulp can become damaged in a variety of ways, including:

  • If your tooth is cracked or chipped.
  • If your teeth have been subjected to repetitious dental work.
  • If you developed an infection due to large cavities in the tooth.

What the root canal does is then clean out the damaged or diseased tissue to ensure the natural tooth is spared. Without a root canal, you can suffer from a severe tooth infection that can spread along the gum line and to other teeth in your mouth. Your teeth can even become discolored and serious infections can spread through your blood to other areas of your body. So, the short of it is: if you need a root canal, talk to your dentist at The Complete Dentistry of Orland Park immediately and get yours scheduled. 

The Root Canal Procedure

There are several steps involved in performing a root canal, so here are the key ones to help you feel prepared for your root canal appointment with The Complete Dentistry of Orland Park:

  1. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area where your tooth (or teeth) is being treated.
  2. Sterilized equipment is used to drill a small hole in your tooth. The insides of your tooth will be slowly cleaned. Damaged or infected tissue will be removed. 
  3. The inside of the tooth will be rinsed several times. If necessary, medication will be placed inside the tooth to kill off any remaining bacteria from an infection.
  4. X-rays will be performed to make sure the root is completely cleaned.
  5. If a crown is needed or an additional appointment to complete the root canal, then a temporary filler will be placed in the hole in your tooth. If the root canal is completed in one appointment, a more permanent restoration may be placed at that time. 

Dental Hygiene Following Your Root Canal

It may be a few weeks before a crown can be placed on your tooth to finish the treatment. During that time, it is important to limit your diet to softer foods to avoid harming your tooth. Rinsing with lukewarm salt water can also help in keeping food particles from gathering in the tooth during this time. 

Following your completed procedure, you should keep your teeth healthy by practicing good oral hygiene. Make sure you are brushing twice per day and flossing once per day. Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks is also beneficial for maintaining good oral health. 

Stay on schedule with your dentist!

Also, make sure to schedule your routine cleanings here at The Complete Dentistry of Orland Park to avoid further oral problems. No one wants to come back for a second root canal—so let’s keep those teeth healthy together! You can schedule your cleaning by calling us at 877-478-1353.