What’s the Deal with Root Canal Treatments?


When you hear your dentist or endodontist (a doctor that specializes in the inner tooth areas) say, “you need a root canal procedure done” or “you’re going to need an endodontic treatment,” you tend to get a little scared because you may not know what it is. Well, have no fear because here you’ll learn all about the processes of a root canal treatment and you’ll leave with a sense of relief because knowledge is power.

What is a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment known as an endodontic treatment is a procedure you get when your pulp chamber (area where your root canal and pulp are) and pulp (blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues) become infected. This process helps remove the infected pulp and cleans out the root canals to save your tooth.

When is a root canal treatment necessary?

You will need a root canal treatment when the pulp in your tooth becomes infected and if it is not treated it can turn into an abscess. According to Mayo Clinic’s article, Tooth abscess, there are two types of abscesses a periapical and a periodontal, “a periapical abscess occurs at the tip of the root whereas a periodontal abscess occurs in the gums next to a tooth root,” (MayoClinic Staff, 1). If your tooth has an abscess it will make it harder for your endodontist to save your tooth with a root canal treatment and if left untreated can lead to extreme complications.

Causes and Symptoms

When your tooth is already infected the following complications could be causes of your infection. The symptoms associated with the infection are usually associated with tooth pains. You should make an appointment with your endodontist or dentist to see whether or not you will need a root canal procedure.


If the pulp is infected or inflamed you will most likely need a root canal to clean out and relieve the infection. According to AAE (American Association of Endodontists), an infection or inflammation can be caused by the following:

  • Deep decay
  • Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth
  • Faulty crowns
  • Tooth trauma
  • A crack or chip in the tooth


Symptoms associated with an infection of the pulp can be mistaken for other oral ailments. That’s why it’s important to go see your dentist or endodontist if you are having tooth pains. In Crest’s article, Teeth Pain: When you Need a Root Canal, states that the following symptoms indicate that it’s time for a root canal:

  • Severe tooth pain when eating
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity to hot and cold even after the stimuli has been removed
  • A pimple on the gums near the tooth pain
  • Tenderness or swelling on gums near the tooth pain
  • Tooth discoloration

8 Steps to a Root Canal Treatment

Going to your endodontist to get a root canal treatment can be a little scary, but if you know the steps then there won’t be anything to be afraid of.

According to Dr. Robert S. Roda, in his article, A Step-By-Step Guide To Root Canal Treatment, the following are the steps in which a root canal will happen:

  1. You are given anesthesia to numb the nerves in your infected tooth.
  2. Next, a sheet of latex called a dental dam will be put over your mouth where the infected tooth will be sectioned off from the other teeth. It is separated from the other teeth so that the infection can’t spread to another tooth.
  3. A hole will be drilled into either the top or side of the tooth to get to the infected pulp.
  4. The pulp and pulp tissue are removed from the tooth and the root canals are disinfected and cleaned.
  5.  The root canals are cleaned again and re-formed so that the root canal fillings can fit.
  6. The fillings, which are thin cone shaped pieces of natural rubber (guta-percha) and are put in the root canals then sealed with dental cement.
  7. The hole that was drilled to get to the pulp is filled with sealant, your dental dam is taken off and you are given antibiotics.
  8.  If you’ve lost enough of your tooth you will need a crown (a tooth cap) , which your dentist will give you, not endodontist. If you didn’t lose that much of your tooth due to damage then you will just need a filling.


If you are in the area and would like to make an appointment with a dentist call us at 912-353-9533 or go to our website, Savannah Dental Centre, also, check out our Facebook @CohenDental to see what’s going on in our neck of the woods.


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff (2016, February 16). Tooth abscess. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tooth-abscess/home/ovc-20185938
  2. Roda, D. S. (2013, May 01). A Step-By-Step Guide To Root Canal Treatment. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://www.deardoctor.com/articles/root-canal-treatment-step-by-step/
  3. Root Canals. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/root-canals/root-canals.aspx
  4. Teeth Pain: When you Need a Root Canal. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://crest.com/en-us/oral-care-topics/tooth-pain/teeth-pain-when-you-need-a-root-canal
  5. What is an Endodontist and what do they do? (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.flemingendo.com/what-is-an-endodontist/

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