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What Is a Root Canal Treatment and Why You Need It

A root canal is a pulp-filled cavity in the root of a tooth. A root canal treatment is done to repair an infected tooth rather than extracting it completely. A root canal is needed when the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected or inflamed. Causes can range from deep decay to a chipped tooth.

On average,  more than 15 million teeth are saved from tooth extraction via root canal treatment every year in the country. Here are all the details about root canal treatment.

Symptoms for Needing a Root Canal Treatment


A man pressing his hand on his cheek because of toothache

Some common symptoms of needing a root canal treatment include:

  • A broken or chipped tooth
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Tender or swollen gums
  • Extreme pain while chewing
  • Darkening or decay of the gums

Preparation for a Root Canal Treatment

If you’re experiencing the above symptoms, contact your dentist and schedule a root canal treatment. Before the procedure, here are a few things that your dentist might suggest:

  • No smoking: Smoking is known to harm the body’s healing process. If you smoke, stop smoking for a couple of days before your root canal treatment.
  • Eating healthy: Your dentist would prescribe avoiding sugary foods that could worsen the infected tooth’s condition.
  • Take your prescribed medicine: If there is a lot of infection, your dentist will provide an anti-inflammatory or anti-biotic before the root canal

Step-by-Step Procedure

The root canal treatment procedure is usually done in 1 to 2 appointments, and each appointment may take 30 to 60 minutes. Before starting the dental procedure, your dental care provider would take X-rays of your affected tooth/teeth to determine the damage extent and plan the required procedure. Here are all the steps of the dental procedure that would follow:

  1. Anesthesia: The dental care expert would numb the infected tooth and its surrounding gums with local anesthesia.
  2. Placing a dental dam: A rubber dam would be placed over the infected area to isolate and ensure tooth dryness
  3. Drilling: A small opening is made in the tooth crown.
  4. Removal of pulp: Blood vessels, nerves, and tissues inside the tooth are removed.
  5. Canal shaping: After removing the pulp, root canals and pulp chambers are disinfected and given shape.
  6. Canal filling: A rubbery and flexible dental material known as gutta-percha is filled inside the empty canal
  7. Tooth sealing: The tooth is sealed using a temporary dental filling. This filling also ensures no bacteria re-enter the area.
  8. Placing the dental crown: In this final step, the temporary dental filling is removed, and a custom-made crown is placed over the tooth. This step can either be done in the same appointment or another appointment.

Follow Up

After the root canal treatment, your tooth and gum may swell and feel sore, which is normal. Your dental care provider may suggest dental medication for this, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You should take precautions such as eating soft foods and avoiding sugary food until a few days after the procedure to ensure a full recovery.

Where to Get a Root Canal Treatment in Germantown, MD?

If you are looking to get a root canal treatment for your infected tooth in Germantown, MD or nearby towns of Rockville, Gaithersburg, or Frederick, why not benefit from our dental care services? We provide all types of general and cosmetic dental care services at an affordable price. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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