What is a Root Canal? A Step-by-Step Guide

By February 25, 2020Dental Health
A Step By Step Guide to Root Canals | Creekside Dental

The health of our teeth is important for many reasons. If there’s an issue with a tooth, such as inflammation or infection, it may have effects that reach beyond the mouth. Chronic oral conditions such as periodontal disease have been associated with other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Decayed, diseased, or missing teeth can affect our appearance. A nice bright smile gives us confidence when interacting with others socially and at work. If the natural tooth starts to yellow, gets chipped or cracked in an accident, or is diseased, it can become painful and noticeable to others.

If left unaddressed, it will progress and lead to greater problems. Fillings, crowns, sealants, and root canals are a few of the ways dentists can help prevent or correct the problems. Root canal treatments are a common dental procedure that allows the dentist to help save a tooth that has become non-vital and/or infected.

During the root canal, the dentist removes bacteria and dying or dead tissue from inside the tooth and roots. Root canal therapy is done when a tooth has become diseased or infected to the point where it is no longer vital. It can be an alternative to having a tooth removed.


The dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding area. Once the tooth is numbed, the area is isolated with a protective barrier called a rubber dam so the procedure can be completed.

Accessing the tooth

Your dentist or endodontist will create a small opening in the tooth to access the diseased tissue. The damaged or diseased pulp is removed from the tooth with small files. The files will also be used to shape the inner chamber of the root and tooth. The tooth chamber and root canals are cleaned and disinfected in preparation for sealing the canal system.


Once the chamber of the tooth is free of bacteria and decay, it will be dried, and the dentist will fill it. This is usually done with a rubber-like material. The open part of the tooth will have a new temporary filling applied.

Permanent crown application

A couple of weeks after your root canal, you will come back to your dentist to have a new permanent crown applied to the tooth. Your dentist will go over any aftercare instructions once your root canal is complete. It is very important to keep the area clean, brushing at least twice a day.

With proper oral care at home and regular dental check-ups twice yearly, a tooth treated with a root canal can stay healthy and last for the duration of your life. If you have questions about possible root canal treatment or want to schedule a cleaning, contact Creekside Dental.