What Root Canal Looks Like

A root canal involves removing infected pulp from the tooth and filling it to prevent further damage. Root canal treatment is an effective way to save a tooth and alleviate pain caused by infection or damage.

During the procedure, a dentist will use special tools to clean the inside of the tooth and remove the infected pulp. The tooth will then be filled and sealed to prevent further infection. Although root canals may sound intimidating, they can be a relatively painless and permanent solution for dental issues.

What Root Canal Looks Like

Credit: www.putneydentalcare.com.au

What Is A Root Canal?

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to remove infected or damaged tissue from inside a tooth. The treatment is typically recommended when the pulp inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected, usually due to deep decay, a crack, or chip in the tooth. The procedure involves removing the nerve and pulp, cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth to prevent further infection and save the tooth from extraction.


The term “root canals” refers to the natural cavity in the center of the tooth. It is made up of the pulp chamber and the canals that run through the roots of the tooth. When a root canal procedure is performed, the infected or injured pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed to prevent future infection or damage.


The primary purpose of a root canal is to save a damaged or infected tooth from extraction. By removing the infected pulp and nerve tissue and sealing the tooth, it can restore the tooth’s function and alleviate pain and discomfort that the patient may be experiencing. This procedure also prevents the spread of infection to the surrounding tissues and helps maintain the overall health of the mouth.

Signs And Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a root canal problem is crucial in seeking timely treatment. If left untreated, it can cause significant pain and other issues. Knowing the indicators will help you identify when you may need root canal therapy.


One of the most common signs of root canal issues is pain. It typically starts as a mild sensation but gradually worsens over time. The pain can range from a dull ache to intense throbbing that is persistent and does not subside on its own. This discomfort may be intensified when biting or applying pressure to the affected tooth.


Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures is another indication that you may require a root canal. If you experience a sharp, fleeting pain when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages, it could suggest the presence of an infected tooth or damaged tooth pulp. This sensitivity might not dissipate quickly and can linger for a period of time.


Swelling around the affected tooth or the surrounding gums is a sign that an infection or inflammation may be present. The swelling can range from a slight puffiness to a visibly enlarged area. In some cases, the gums may appear red or tender, indicating the need for professional attention. It’s important not to ignore any swelling, as it could be a sign of a more severe issue that requires immediate treatment.

Procedure Steps

X-ray And Diagnosis

Before starting the root canal procedure, your dentist will first perform an X-ray to determine the extent of the infection and identify the affected area. This helps them in making an accurate diagnosis and planning the treatment accordingly. The X-ray provides a clear picture of the condition of the tooth, including the shape and length of the canals, which is crucial for a successful root canal.

Local Anesthesia

Once the diagnosis is complete, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. This ensures that you experience minimal discomfort during the root canal procedure. The anesthesia will be injected near the affected tooth, numbing the nerves and surrounding tissues, making the entire process pain-free and comfortable for you.

Removing The Infected Pulp

After you are sufficiently numb, your dentist will create a small access hole in the tooth, allowing them to reach the infected pulp. Using specialized tools, they will carefully remove the damaged pulp from the inside of the tooth and the root canals. This step is crucial in eliminating the source of infection and preventing any further damage to your tooth.

Cleaning And Shaping The Canals

Once the infected pulp is removed, the dentist will thoroughly clean and disinfect the canals, using a series of files of increasing size. This helps in removing any remaining infected tissue or bacteria and ensures the canals are properly shaped to accommodate the filling material. Proper cleaning and shaping of the canals are essential for the success and longevity of the root canal treatment.

Filling And Sealing The Canals

After the canals are cleaned and shaped, your dentist will fill them with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This material helps to seal the canals, preventing any bacteria from reentering. The canals are then sealed with a dental cement to ensure a complete and lasting seal. This step helps to prevent any further infection and also provides stability to the tooth.

Remember, each step during the root canal procedure is crucial for its success. It is always recommended to follow your dentist’s instructions and maintain good oral hygiene to ensure a smooth recovery.

Recovery And Aftercare

After a root canal procedure, recovery and aftercare are crucial for the success of the treatment. It is important to follow the dentist’s instructions for proper healing and to avoid any complications. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene practices will help maintain the health of the treated tooth.

Recovery and Aftercare After undergoing a root canal, proper recovery and aftercare are vital to ensure a smooth healing process. Following the prescribed guidelines and practicing good oral hygiene can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Here’s what you need to know about medication and pain management, temporary filling, and follow-up appointments post-root canal procedure.

Medication And Pain Management

Immediately after the root canal, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. Additionally, over-the-counter pain medication may be recommended to manage any discomfort. It’s essential to take all medications as directed and to communicate with your dentist if you experience severe or prolonged pain.

Temporary Filling

After the root canal, a temporary filling is placed to protect the treated tooth until a permanent restoration, such as a crown, can be placed. This filling provides a protective barrier and maintains the structural integrity of the tooth. It’s crucial to be cautious with the temporary filling and avoid chewing on that side of the mouth to prevent dislodging or damaging it.

Follow-up Appointments

Following a root canal, your dentist will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process. These appointments are crucial for assessing the success of the treatment and ensuring the tooth is healing properly. During these visits, the dentist may also discuss the next steps for restoring the tooth with a permanent crown or filling. In summary, adhering to aftercare instructions, taking prescribed medications, and attending follow-up appointments are essential components of a successful root canal recovery. By following these guidelines, you can promote healing and maintain the long-term health of the treated tooth.

Potential Complications And Risks

Root canal treatment may carry potential complications and risks, including infection, nerve damage, and the need for further dental procedures. It is essential to discuss these factors with your dentist to understand what root canal treatment entails and make an informed decision about your dental care.

While a root canal procedure is generally safe and effective, there are potential complications and risks that patients should be aware of. Understanding these possibilities can help you make an informed decision about your dental care. Here are some common complications and risks associated with root canal treatment:


A primary concern during and after a root canal is the risk of infection. During the procedure, your dentist removes the infected pulp from the tooth, cleaning the root canal system thoroughly. However, there is still a chance of bacteria remaining or re-entering the treated tooth, leading to a new or persistent infection. This can cause pain, swelling, and potentially the need for further treatment.

Fractured Root

Another potential complication of root canal treatment is a fractured root. While rare, it can occur due to the manipulation of the tooth during the procedure or if the tooth was already weakened or cracked. A fractured root can result in pain and require additional treatment, such as tooth extraction or endodontic surgery.

Tooth Discoloration

Following a root canal, some patients may notice discoloration of the treated tooth. This can happen due to the breakdown of the internal structure of the tooth or the materials used during the procedure. Discoloration can range from slight yellowing to noticeable darkening. Fortunately, there are cosmetic dental treatments available to address this issue, such as dental crowns or veneers.

In conclusion, while root canal treatment is generally safe and successful, there are potential complications and risks to consider. These include the risk of infection, a fractured root, and tooth discoloration. It’s important to discuss these risks with your dentist and address any concerns you may have before proceeding with the procedure.

What Root Canal Looks Like

Credit: www.mayoclinic.org

What Root Canal Looks Like

Credit: www.aae.org

Frequently Asked Questions On What Root Canal Looks Like

What Is A Root Canal Procedure?

A root canal is a dental procedure used to treat and save an infected or damaged tooth. During the procedure, the tooth’s nerve and pulp are removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. This helps to alleviate pain and protect the tooth from further damage.

Is A Root Canal Painful?

Most people are concerned about the pain associated with a root canal. However, with modern advancements in dental technology and anesthesia, the procedure is relatively painless. You may experience some discomfort during and after the procedure, but your dentist will ensure that you are as comfortable as possible.

How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

The duration of a root canal procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the tooth being treated. On average, a root canal can be completed in one to two appointments that last about 90 minutes each. Your dentist will give you a more accurate estimate depending on your particular condition.

What Are The Benefits Of A Root Canal?

Root canal treatment offers several benefits. It helps to save your natural tooth, restore normal chewing and biting, maintain proper alignment of surrounding teeth, and prevent any further dental or oral issues. It also helps to alleviate pain, improve your oral health, and enhance the appearance of your smile.


Understanding what a root canal looks like can help alleviate any fears or concerns. Knowing the process and the outcome can empower you to make informed decisions about your dental health. With the right knowledge and the support of a skilled dentist, you can rest assured that a root canal is a manageable and beneficial procedure for your oral health.

Leave a Comment