Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is used to save or repair the inside of the tooth. This procedure is also called endodontic treatment. The inside of the tooth is made up of pulp. When the pulp is diseased or injured through trauma, a type of germ (bacteria) can enter the tooth. If the pulp is unable to repair itself, an infection can occur. Root canal is the removal of the infected pulp to save the tooth. Otherwise, the infected tooth may have to be removed.


Symptoms that indicate that a root canal may be necessary include:

  • Severe toothache or pain.

  • Continual sensitivity to anything hot or cold.

  • Tooth darkening (discoloration).

  • Swelling or tenderness of the gum.

  • Pain when biting down.

  • Swelling or redness of the face.


A diagnosis is be based on results from:

  • A physical exam.

  • An X-ray exam.


Removal of infected tooth pulp includes:

  • Creating an opening through the portion of the tooth that is above the gums (crown) into the inner portion of the tooth (pulp chamber).

  • Removing pulp tissue from the pulp chamber and root canals.

  • Cleaning and shaping the root canals with special files.

  • Placing medication in the pulp chamber and root canals to remove bacteria.

  • Filling and sealing the pulp chamber and root canals to prevent bacteria from re-entering the tooth.

  • Sealing the crown of the tooth with a temporary filling. This temporary filling will be replaced with a permanent filling or crown.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, fever, or infection as directed by your caregiver.


  • Pain cannot be helped by medication.

  • Any swelling occurs in your face or around the infected tooth.

  • You have a temperature by mouth above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • You cannot swallow or open your mouth.