Many people feel worried when their dentist tells them they need a root canal. But this procedure, which is intended to save a damaged or decayed tooth, is common and simply a series of steps that clean and protect the inside of the tooth’s root. The process is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. To understand what will happen during your root canal, read the guide below.

What to Expect During Your Root Canal

1. Preparation & Anesthesia

The first step in the root canal process is for the dentist to administer the local anesthesia. Like other dental procedures, the numbing agent is administered via syringe. Once the tooth is numb, your dentist might insert a dental dam—a small sheet of rubber—around the tooth to keep it clean and dry for the duration of the root canal.

2. Accessing the Inner Tooth

root-canal-anesthesiaThe next step in the process is accessing the inside of the tooth. Using a small drill, the dentist will create an opening in the top part of the tooth. They will then use small tools to clear out any damaged and infected pulp from the interior. The dentist may need to shape the inner chamber of the tooth. They may irrigate with water and fill the area with an antimicrobial solution. During this process, you will only feel pressure as the dentist is working on your tooth.

3. Filling

After the interior of the tooth is cleaned and dry, then the dentist will fill it with a natural material called gutta percha. Then the opening that was drilled in the top part of the tooth will be closed with a temporary filling until your permanent crown is ready to be affixed. 

4. Installing the Crown

A crown is a cap for the tooth made of porcelain or composite material. It will be custom made to match your other teeth and be installed to protect the tooth that has received the root canal. The crown will be installed a few weeks after your treatment. Some root canals will not require a crown.

5. After Care

After the crown is in place, you likely will not need more care unless the dentist wants to x-ray the tooth again to make sure all the infection has gone. Those with crowns need to be careful of hard or chewy foods. Keep to a good oral hygiene routine and visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.


C.R. Sfeir D.D.S., General Dentistry provides the Lorain, OH, community with complete family dentistry services. They offer same day denture repairs, extractions, and emergency care, as well as cosmetic dentistry, preventive care, and oral cancer screenings. Call (440) 960-5200 to book an appointment or visit the website to learn more about the staff and services.