What You Need To Know About Root Canals

Dentist Blog

In the world of dentists, root canal procedures are among the more radical options short of performing full-on oral surgery. Root canals also have a somewhat undeserved reputation for being painful, and this combination of facts has led to some misconceptions about the process. Here's what you need to know about roots canals and why dentists might elect to perform them.

The Basic Goals of Root Canals

The root canal is the space in a tooth where the soft pulp is. The pulp is living tissue that is encased by the harder mineral structure of the enamel. The pulp in the root canal can, like any other living tissue, become infected. This can occur because bacteria get in through a crack or hole in the tooth or because an infection spreads up through the gums into the pulp.

Infected material is removed from the tooth, and uninfected pulp is then treated to ensure that it cannot be infected again. Dentists also have to fill the emptied space with inert materials to maintain the structural integrity of the tooth. In extreme cases, a significant amount of pulp may have to be removed, and this increases the risk that the entire took may fall out or have to be removed years later.

In other words, root canal procedures are intended to stabilize a tooth that's at risk of dying. This goal is accomplished by removing the infection and treating whatever healthy pulp is left.


In most cases, a dentist drills as small a hole as possible through the top of the tooth in order to access the root canal. Based on what they see and evidence from X-rays, they break up the infected material and suction it out. The healthy pulp is then treated and sealed, and finally, the initial entry hole is sealed.

About Pain

The reputation for root canals being painful comes from the proximity of drilling tools to nerves in the tooth. Thanks to improvements in local anesthetics and drilling methods, a root canal should not be more painful than a filling.


Medicated fillings are increasingly used as part of a carries control procedure to treat many cases where minor root canals used to be performed. The process is similar to a standard filling. This means, however, that when a dentist recommends a root canal that they're out of alternatives and removal is the only other choice. 

For more information, contact a dental office like John B Webster DDS.


19 March 2019

Emergency Dental Care

The average dentist takes many client appointments each day and also deals with emergency situations on a regular basis. Dental emergencies are very common because people are likely to put off having tooth pain fixed until the pain becomes unbearable. Some people have anxiety about dental visits, and others are trying to avoid the expense of dental care. In either case, the end result is often a dental emergency. I have worked as a professional dental hygienist for many years and have seen all types of dental emergencies. I hope that this blog will help people identify potential emergencies before they become too serious and will allow people to know when to get help.