Root Canal Basics

General Dentistry
Root Canal Basics

The topic of getting a root canal is a sensitive subject for some people. But the truth is, a root canal is a form of therapy that will eventually stop the pain associated with an abscess or infected area in the mouth. Without a root canal the infection will spread, pain will increase and damage can occur to the tooth and surrounding tissue.

A Root Canal may be treated by an Endodontist or by a General dentist as well. If the tooth is being treated for the second time, or may have complications a patient may be referred to an Endodontist.

Act Quickly

A tooth will not heal on its own therefore a root canal treatment may be necessary. Without being treated, infection will likely spread and the bone around the tooth will degenerate and eventually the tooth may need to be extracted. The pain will also increase as the infection spreads. 


  • Pain
  • Extreme Sensitivity
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Discoloration
  • Trauma
  • Abscess
  • Bad Taste 

What is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is an area of a tooth and the name of the procedure. Inside a tooth is a pulp chamber where the tooth’s nerve is located - this is the root canal. The pulp inside is soft and is made up of nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels. The pulp continues down the roots of the teeth and into the bone surrounding the teeth. Some factors such as length of the appointment, complexity of procedure and a cost depend on a number of canals that the tooth has. Front teeth have one canal, premolars one or two, and molars three or four canals.

The Treatment

In order to repair the damaged area that is abscessed or infected, the dentist performs a root canal treatment procedure by removing the pulp of the tooth. He then fills the area with sealant so bacteria cannot enter. Patients are injected with a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide to reduce pain, numb the area and help them relax. The dentist will insert a small sheet of rubber to separate the decayed tooth from the other teeth. The tooth pulp is removed with a drill and other dental tools. The dentist then fills the tooth above and below the gum line with medicine to prevent infection and then temporary filling materials. 

Most often following a root canal a permanent crown or filling is necessary. A temporary crown may be used until a permanent crown can be put into place. 

Call Today! 

Only a dentist can determine when a root canal is necessary, therefore it is very important to get a complete examination for a correct diagnosis.  If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms that indicate you may need a root canal treatment, making an appointment right away is your best option. Your dentist in Watertown can have you on the road to recovery in no time. 

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