Root Canal FAQ

How do I know if I need a root canal?

If you are experiencing any of the following, you could need a root canal:

  • Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Discomfort during chewing or biting
  • Dull ache
  • Severe pain
  • Discomfort that disturbs your sleep

A dental diagnosis for endodontic treatment.
While these are some of the symptoms of the need of a root canal, it is possible you will need a root canal without any signs.  The sure way is to have a qualified dentist examine the situation.

What happens during the appointment?

  • We will examine and x-ray the tooth.
  • Administer a local anesthetic.
  • After the area is numb, we will insert a small protective sheet, called a dental rubber dam, to isolate the tooth.
  • An opening is made in the crown and small instruments are used to clean the canals and shape the spaces for a filling.
  • When clean and shaped, the canals are filled with a polyester root canal filling and sealer.
  • A temporary filling is inserted.

How much will it hurt?

Since we have access to a number of types of local anesthetic and use modern techniques, there should be no sensation in the tooth during treatment.  For a few days afterward, the tooth may be sensitive to biting, but this is normal.  You can take over-the-counter pain relievers to control any discomfort.

Will it hurt after the procedure?

You may experience some sensitivity to cold or hot, or possibly an intake of air.  You may experience some mild discomfort to pressure that may last for a few days.  Usually any discomfort will be gone within the first 24 to 48 hours.  Using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers should take care of it.  Tylenol is probably the least effective since it has no anti-inflammatory component.


If you have had pain prior to the root canal, it is likely you will experience some afterward as well.  We can prescribe a medication regimen for the first 72 to 96 hours to begin healing without pain.


The most common complaints are tenderness to the touch, bite, tapping or chewing.  It is recommended that you chew on the opposite side the mouth until a permanent filling and crown are placed.

Should I have a root canal or just have the tooth pulled?

With a root canal, you keep the tooth.  If the tooth is extracted, it can cause the other teeth to move, problems with your bite, or the need to treat other teeth.  It is always better to keep the natural tooth as long a possible.

If you are concerned about the necessity of a retreatment, just let us know.

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