Root canal treatment can save a tooth which is seriously infected by removing bacteria and dead or dying tissue from inside the tooth. Modern technology and techniques have assisted root canals in evolving into fairly comfortable procedures which usually require no more than a couple of visits to the dentist.

Typically, root canals are needed or recommended when there’s an infection deep inside the tooth. The pulp in the tooth may become infected with bacteria due to a crack, an injury, or an untreated, severe cavity. Without any treatment, this infection may become serious enough that a tooth must be removed. If the dentist has advised the procedure, here’s a guide to what to expect during the treatment.

With a needle, the dental professional administers local anesthesia to numb your tooth. After your tooth becomes numb, the dentist may place a dental dam to keep it dry and clean during the treatment. The dentist then will use small tools, like a drill, to gain access to the inside of your tooth by developing an opening inside the upper part of your tooth.

Then, the dental professional uses small files to clear out any diseased and damaged pulp from the interior of your tooth. The dentist also will use these files to shape the inside chamber of your root and tooth and may irrigate the chamber using water to wash out any remaining pulp.

As the chamber is completely dried and cleaned, the dentist fills it. A rubber-like material referred to as gutta-percha is often used. The dentist closes the opening in the tooth using a temporary filling, as you wait for your permanent crown. During your next visit, the dentist finishes the procedure by putting on a permanent crown.