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The Essentials of Root Canal Treatment: A Patient’s Guide

Are you experiencing intense toothache even after getting your decayed tooth restored? Do certain foods and drinks cause increased tooth sensitivity? Well, what you are suffering may be due to a severe tooth infection involving the pulp. Such cases require extensive dental procedures like root canal therapy offered by the Houston dentist

In this article, we will delve into the world of root canal treatment, exploring the reasons for the procedure, the treatment process, and post-procedure care.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental procedure designed to remove infected tissue from within a tooth, thereby saving the tooth from extraction. Despite its reputation, root canal treatment is a relatively painless and highly effective procedure that can provide long-term relief from tooth pain and infection.

There are two primary types of root canal treatment:

Traditional root canal treatment: This is the most common type of root canal treatment, where the dentist removes the infected pulp tissue and fills the root canals with gutta-percha.

Apicoectomy: This is a surgical procedure where the infected tip of the tooth’s root is removed, and the root canal is sealed from the end.

Why is root canal treatment necessary?

Root canal treatment is necessary when the soft tissue inside the tooth, known as the pulp, becomes infected or inflamed. This can occur due to various reasons such as tooth decay, a cracked tooth, or repeated dental procedures on the same tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues, leading to abscesses, bone loss, and eventually, tooth loss.

How is a root canal procedure performed?

The root canal treatment process typically involves the following steps:

Diagnosis and preparation: The dentist will examine the tooth and surrounding tissues to determine the extent of the infection. X-rays may be taken to visualize the tooth’s internal structure.

Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the tooth and surrounding area.

Access opening: An access hole is drilled into the tooth to allow access to the pulp chamber and root canals.

Removal of infected pulp: The infected pulp tissue will be removed from the tooth using specialized instruments called files.

Cleaning and shaping: The root canals will be cleaned and shaped to remove any remaining bacteria and debris.

Filling the root canal: The cleaned and shaped root canals will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.

Sealing the tooth: The access hole will be sealed with a temporary filling material.

Restoration: A crown or filling will be placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

What does the post-procedure care involve?

After the procedure, the tooth may be sensitive for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to alleviate any discomfort. It is essential to follow a proper oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing, to prevent further infection.

What are the benefits of root canal procedures?

Root canal treatment offers several benefits, including:

Relief from tooth pain: Root canal treatment can provide immediate relief from tooth pain and discomfort.

Saving the tooth: Root canal treatment can save the tooth from extraction, preserving the natural appearance and function of the tooth.

Preventing infection spread: Root canal treatment can prevent the spread of infection to surrounding tissues and bone.

Boosting confidence: A healthy, pain-free tooth can boost self-confidence and overall quality of life.


Root canal treatment is a highly effective procedure that can provide long-term relief from tooth pain and infection. By understanding the reasons for the procedure, the treatment process, and post-procedure care, individuals can make informed decisions about their oral health. If you are experiencing tooth pain or discomfort, consult with your dentist to determine if root canal treatment is right for you.