What to expect for a root canal? - Smile Exchange

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When your dentist determines you need a root canal, they will tell you exactly what to expect. A root canal is needed when there is an infection deep within your tooth, mostly because of bacteria or an untreated cavity. If a root canal isn’t performed early enough, the tooth may need to be removed.

When you come in for your appointment, the dentist will gently number the tooth and the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Then, using small tools like a drill and file, the dentist will open up and clean out the infected inside of the tooth, and wash out the chamber to get any bit of infection left behind.

Then, your dentist will fill in the tooth with a rubber-like substance and close the tooth with a temporary crown. A few weeks later, you will come back to get a permanent crown put in.

After a root canal, you will need to pay special attention to keeping up with your oral hygiene. Your dentist may schedule a follow-up appointment to take x-rays and ensure the infection is gone. In addition, make sure you’re seeing the dentist at least twice a year to prevent any additional cavities and the need for another root canal.