Root Canals: What You Need to Know

A dentist with her patient before root canal therapy.

When it comes to taking care of your teeth, one of the most common procedures that you may encounter is a root canal. While this term may sound intimidating, it is a relatively routine procedure that can save your tooth from further damage or extraction. At Centrum Dental Centre, we understand that root canals can be a source of anxiety for our patients. That's why we have compiled this guide to educate you on what root canals are, how they are performed, and what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental treatment that involves removing infected or damaged tissue from inside the tooth. This tissue, known as the pulp, contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When this pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to tooth decay, trauma, or a crack in the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Signs That You May Need a Root Canal

There are several signs that may indicate you need a root canal. These include:

  • Severe tooth pain, especially when biting or chewing
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swelling in the gums around the affected tooth
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Prolonged sensitivity after consuming hot or cold foods/drinks

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of a damaged tooth can prevent the need for a root canal.

The Root Canal Procedure

The thought of undergoing a root canal may be scary, but rest assured that it is a routine and relatively painless procedure. Here's what you can expect during your root canal appointment:

Step 1: X-Ray

First, your dentist will take an X-ray of the affected tooth to determine the extent of the damage and plan for the procedure.

Step 2: Anesthesia

Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area around the tooth. This ensures that you do not feel any pain during the procedure.

Step 3: Accessing The Tooth

Your dentist will use special tools to create a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.

Step 4: Removing The Infected Tissue

Using fine dental instruments, your dentist will carefully remove the infected tissue from inside the tooth. This process may take some time depending on the severity of the infection.

Step 5: Cleaning and Shaping The Canals

Once the infected tissue is removed, your dentist will clean and shape the root canals to prepare them for filling.

Step 6: Filling The Canals

Once the canals are cleaned and shaped, they will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. This material helps to seal the canals and prevent further infection.

Step 7: Sealing The Tooth

After filling the canals, your dentist will seal the opening in the tooth with a temporary or permanent filling.

Aftercare and Recovery

Following a root canal procedure, you may experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity, which can be managed by over-the-counter pain medication. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent any further infection. It is important to follow any post-procedure instructions given by your dentist to ensure a smooth recovery.

Alternative Treatments

In some cases, a root canal may not be the best option for saving a damaged tooth. Your dentist may recommend alternative treatments such as:

  • Extraction: If the damage to the tooth is too extensive, it may need to be extracted to prevent further infection.
  • Dental Implant: A dental implant is a permanent solution for replacing a missing tooth. It involves surgically placing an artificial tooth root and attaching a replacement tooth on top of it.


A root canal may sound scary, but it is a safe and effective procedure for saving a damaged or infected tooth. At Centrum Dental Centre, our experienced dentists use the latest techniques and technology to ensure a comfortable and successful root canal treatment. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with us. We are here to help you maintain a healthy and happy smile! So keep brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly. Your teeth will thank you for it!