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What to Expect When Having a Root Canal

Posted on December 23rd, 2021 by

Root Canal

Root canals are one of the most commonplace dental procedures performed in the United States. Despite their prevalence, many people are still quite apprehensive about getting one done. While it’s natural to be nervous about visiting the dentist, you should know that root canals are virtually painless, and the process is comparable to getting a routine filling.

To help you feel more at ease, we’ve put together this blog about what to expect during your root canal procedure.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal, sometimes known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure used to remove the inner pulp of a decaying tooth. Removing this inner pulp, including the nerves, blood vessels, and roots, will stop the intense pain that often accompanies tooth decay.

After the infected material is safely removed, the tooth is filled and a strengthening device, known as a crown, is placed over the tooth.

Purpose of a Root Canal

In most cases, a root canal is recommended for people experiencing severe tooth pain due to deep decay. This pain is caused by an infection in the inner pulp of the decaying tooth. Removing this infected tissue will quickly stop your pain and help you return to your normal routines.

Root canals are also recommended as a treatment for cracked or injured teeth, especially in cases where the roots are exposed.

Besides preventing pain, a root canal will prevent a tooth infection from spreading to other areas of your body, which can cause very serious problems in the long run. It’s the also the best method for saving your natural tooth.

The Procedure

Here’s an overview of what you can expect during your root canal procedure.

  1. The dentist will take an x-ray of your teeth to ensure that a root canal is a viable solution.
  2. The dentist will numb the area surrounding your tooth using local anesthesia.
  3. A dental dam will be placed over your mouth to isolate the affected tooth and prevent any debris from coming in the way of the procedure.
  4. Your dentist will remove the tooth decay with a drill. Then, they will use a special file to ensure all of the decayed roots have been removed.
  5. Once everything has been removed, they’ll disinfect the inside of your tooth and fill it in using a special latex material.
  6. You will return to the dentist a week later for a crown.


You will likely feel some numbness in your mouth after your procedure. Once the anesthesia wears off, you may experience pain or soreness, but this will fade away over time.

For most people, over-the-counter pain medication is enough to dull the pain. However, your dentist may also give you prescription pain medication, depending on your situation.

For the first few days after your root canal, you should plan on eating soft foods as much as possible. You may also find it more comfortable to chew on the unaffected side of your mouth. During this time, make sure to brush your teeth and floss as normal.

Getting a Crown

A week after your root canal, you’ll need to return to your dentist or endodontist for a crown fitting. A crown is a small dental implant cap that resembles the look and feel of a real tooth. It’s designed to fit over your damaged tooth.

By nature, a root canal makes your tooth more brittle and susceptible to damage. Adding a crown on top will strengthen it and make it highly resistant to wear.

Moving Forward

Once you have a root canal procedure, your tooth and the added crown should last for the rest of your life. Of course, you’ll still need to practice good oral hygiene to protect your teeth, like brushing, flossing, and eating a healthy diet.

It’s also important to see your dentists every 6 months for a check-up. Your dentist will be able to monitor the condition of your new crown and prevent your other teeth from reaching the point where a root canal is needed.

Book an Appointment in Lakeview

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with the dentists at Art of Modern Dentistry. We know that dental work can make many people feel apprehensive. That’s why our compassionate staff members are here to help you feel at ease with the procedure at hand.

We’re the best dentists in Lakeview and the surrounding Chicagoland areas. Call us today at 773-935-3600 to schedule an appointment.

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