What to Expect During Your Root Canal Procedure

A toothache is the worst!

An infected tooth will cause varying levels of pain when eating, speaking, and it leaves you feeling just plain miserable. Fortunately, we can help. At Spring Complete Care Dentistry, we offer comprehensive dental care customized to each member of your family, including root canal treatments. We can save your tooth from further damage with the use of root canal treatment to help remove the infected dental pulp, prevent the spread of the infection to other teeth, relieve pain, and most importantly….. do it quickly and comfortably.

We understand that the thought of having to undergo a root canal procedure can cause fear and anxiety among patients. This is because they’re usually already in pain when they need one. There’s a long-standing myth that the procedure itself will cause greater pain, when in fact, a root canal treatment is a safe and effective solution that is designed to take away pain from the tooth.

It’s normal to feel uneasy and nervous before a dental procedure, especially if you don’t know what to expect. We’re here to put your mind at ease and with a little bit of knowledge, you’ll see that it’s not so scary after all.

Here’s what typically happens during a root canal treatment, from start to finish:


  • First, we’ll take a set of digital X-rays of the affected tooth and its roots and perform an oral exam for a detailed look at the extent of the damage.


  • Before treatment begins, we’ll administer a local anesthesia to ensure the affected tooth and the gum around it is completely numb and you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during your procedure. You will feel a small pinch as the local anesthesia is injected near the infected tooth. For patients that need extra help getting comfortable, we offer inhaled sedation – nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. 


  • A rubber dam will be placed around the affected tooth to isolate it from the surrounding environment and to ensure the area we are working on stays dry. This also prevents any debris from entering your mouth.


  • Dr. Tan will use a dental bur to create a tiny opening near the top of the tooth so he can gain access to the inside of the affected tooth. If a hole already exists in the tooth because of decay, he will widen and smooth out the opening to allow easy access to the inside of your tooth.


  • Once a clear path into the center of the tooth has been created, we will clean out the inner chamber of your tooth and remove pulp, decayed nerve tissue, and the infected inner part of the tooth using a series of small root canal files.  If you have a dental abscess, which is a pus-filled pocket in your gums, we will be able to drain it at the same time.


  • After all of the infected areas have been thoroughly removed, the root canals left behind are shaped and smoothed to prepare them to be filled


  • Dr. Tan will flush the tooth with water and an antimicrobial solution to make sure any remaining infected pulp and debris are removed.


  • A rubber-like dental material is used to fill the canals and all the nooks and crannies that are deep inside your tooth. This will prevent reinfection.


  • Lastly, your tooth will be sealed off with a filling, or if needed, prepared to be restored with a dental crown.


Once the effects of the numbing anesthetic wear off, you may experience some soreness and mild discomfort. This is normal and will fade away in just a few days. Prescription painkillers and over-the-counter medications help manage discomfort and pain. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic to help clear up any remaining bacteria. 


Why would I need a dental crown and not just a simple filling?

In some cases, a filling is all you will need to restore your tooth. However, if your tooth has lost much of its inner structure, it will have become more fragile and it will be more susceptible to fracturing, and you will require a dental crown. A dental crown is a cap that completely covers a tooth and restores it to its natural shape and strength.

In this case, we will schedule a second visit for you shortly after this appointment to take a mold of your tooth for your new dental crown. The mold ensures that your permanent crown will be the right shape and size, and fits your tooth accurately. In the meantime, you will have a temporary dental crown protecting the tooth while waiting for your permanent dental crown to be fabricated. After your treatment, avoid chewing with the newly treated tooth before your permanent crown has been placed.

In a few short weeks, your new dental crown will be ready. At this time, when fitting your permanent crown, your tooth will be trimmed down to ensure the crown fits your tooth accurately and comfortably. A dental cement will be used to glue the crown to the trimmed-down tooth.


How long will my restored tooth last?

With proper care, your repaired tooth can last a lifetime. You should continue to practice good at-home oral care that includes brushing twice daily and flossing once a day. 

It’s important to schedule a checkup and cleaning every six months. These visits allow us to check your teeth, including ones previously treated, for any small cavities, cracks, or other problems and repair them before they get larger and can cause you pain.

If you think you may need a root canal or you’d like to have your teeth checked for any problems that could develop into the need for a future root canal, contact us to make an appointment. We’re accepting new patients and we look forward to helping you achieve a healthy smile!

Learn More:

Ready For Your Appointment? Start here.

Root Canal FAQs

6 Common Signs You Might Need A Root Canal