Navigating a Needed Root Canal: What Comes Next?

Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure that removes infected or damaged pulp to prevent further damage and save your tooth. It may be the best option for preserving a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. Understanding the root canal procedure and its purpose can help to alleviate any concerns you might have.

Why a Root Canal May be Necessary


The primary reason a root canal is needed is due to an infection in the tooth's pulp. This can be caused by severe tooth decay, a cracked or broken tooth, or a severe injury to the tooth. The infection can lead to an abscess, a painful condition that can also affect your overall health.

In addition to infection, other conditions like tooth decay or damage can also necessitate a root canal. For instance, if you have a deep cavity, it can reach the pulp of your tooth, causing it to become inflamed and painful. Similarly, a cracked or chipped tooth can expose the pulp, making it vulnerable to bacteria and leading to inflammation and infection.

What Happens During a Root Canal?


First, your dentist will numb the area using local anesthesia. This ensures that you feel minimal discomfort during the procedure. Once the area is numb, your dentist will place a dental dam around the infected tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.

Next, your dentist makes an opening in the crown of your tooth to reach the pulp chamber. The infected or inflamed pulp is then removed, and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. After the tooth is cleaned, it is shaped and prepared for filling.

Finally, your dentist fills the root canal with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The opening in the crown is sealed with a temporary filling, and a permanent crown is typically placed at a later appointment. The entire procedure usually takes one to two visits, depending on the complexity of the case and the tooth involved.

What Comes After a Root Canal?


Recovery after a root canal is usually straightforward. However, it's important to remember that each person's experience may vary slightly. After the procedure, you may feel some discomfort or sensitivity in the treated area. This is normal and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

It's crucial to maintain good oral hygiene during recovery. This includes brushing and flossing regularly and using an antiseptic mouthwash. This will help keep your mouth clean and prevent infection. You should also avoid eating hard or crunchy foods until your tooth has fully healed.

Remember that a root canal is a restorative procedure. This means that after the root canal, your tooth should function normally and without pain. However, it's important to maintain regular dental check-ups to ensure the long-term health of your treated tooth and your overall oral health.



Whether you are facing a root canal or just want to be prepared, knowing what to expect can make all the difference. Always remember to follow your dentist's advice, maintain good oral hygiene, and don't hesitate to ask questions or voice concerns. 

For more information on a root canal procedure and what comes next, visit Marietta Smile Gallery at our office in Marietta, Georgia, or call 770-809-1500 to schedule an appointment today.