What is a Root Canal and Other Root Canal FAQs

Are you in denial about the severe tooth pain in the back of your mouth that requires a root canal?

Our Toronto and Cambridge dentists at Country Dental have compiled this Root Canal FAQ article to help you better understand this dental procedure and put many of your concerns at ease.

1. What is a root canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure needed when the tooth’s root becomes inflamed or infected. The procedure involves removing the bacteria in the root canals of the tooth and then sealing the tooth up again so that bacteria cannot re-enter.

2. How much does a root canal cost?

The financial implication of a root canal is almost always a top concern for our patients. The cost of a root canal depends on the complexity of the surgery and if your health insurance policy will help cover part of the procedure. At Country Dental, we can help alleviate these concerns by offering an affordable payment plan with 0% interest financing through HealthSmart Financial.

3. Is pain after root canal normal?

It is normal to feel tenderness in the area for several days after your root canal, as well as some soreness in your jaw after keeping it open for the entire procedure. Pain will usually peak 17 to 24 hours after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate post root canal pain along with keeping your head elevated when sleeping the first few nights. Any severe pain or pressure that lasts for more than a few days should be reported to your endodontist.

4. How long does a root canal take?

Depending on your endodontist and the severity of your root canal, the dental procedure will usually take between 30 and 90 minutes. Some endodontists prefer to perform the entire root canal in one visit, while other endodontists prefer to do the root canal in several appointments in order to let the tooth dry and be able to disinfect a second time before filling. The number of root canal appointments will also affect the total length of the procedure.

5. What root canal symptoms should I watch for?

Common root canal symptoms can include:

  • Severe tooth pain and tooth sensitivity that worsens over time
  • Swollen or tender gums near the infected area
  • Pus-filled pimple around the gum
  • Abscess in the jawbone (visible on an x-ray)
  • Darkening of the tooth

6. Do root canals hurt?

Many people ask, “Are root canals painful?” If the pulp in the tooth is dead there are no nerves, so you shouldn’t feel anything. If the pulp is still alive, you will need a local anesthesia to help with the pain management. At Country Dental, we also offer dental treatment under sedation if you are concerned about pain or have anxiety towards the procedure.

7. What should I expect after a root canal?

As stated above, you can expect some tenderness around the area where the root canal was. Post root canal treatment instructions will usually include:

  • Wait to eat until all the numbing has come out of your mouth.
  • Avoid chewing or biting on the tooth until it has been restored by a crown.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal.
  • Return to normal activities after the anesthesia has worn off.

8. Should I worry about root canal infection after the procedure?

Your endodontist will keep careful watch for any recurring infection in the tooth. It is important to watch for signs of infection, including:

  • Severe pain or pressure that lasts for more than a few days
  • Visible swelling inside or outside the mouth
  • Original symptoms returning

9. What is a normal root canal recovery time?

You should experience continual gradual healing during the first week after your root canal.

10. Do I need to see a root canal specialist?

Depending on the severity of the root canal, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist who specializes in root canal treatment. Endodontists are dentists with additional years of training that focuses on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canals and other procedures inside the tooth.

12. Should I get a root canal or extraction?

Some may wonder if the tooth will recover on its own or if they should just get an extraction and dental implant. Only your dentist will know if a root canal is necessary and if there are root canal alternatives available based on the severity of the infected tooth and your medical history.

Contact Our Endodontists

To learn more about what can cause a root canal and the root canal procedure and treatment options, call our dentists directly:

Toronto Endodontist:                              416-335-7377

Cambridge Endodontist:                         519-620-7474

With new state of the art dental offices in Cambridge and Toronto Ontario we are open 7 days a week and offer evening appointments. We look forward to making you smile!