What Happens During a Root Canal?

Root Canal Dentists in Bloomfield Hills, MI

If you are experiencing dental pain or discomfort and suspect you have a cavity, you’ll want to call your root canal dentist as soon as possible. If left untreated, deep tooth decay can breach the innermost chamber of your tooth—dental pulp. 

In this blog post, our Bloomfield Hills dentist at Glenn Spencer DDS will walk you through the root canal treatment steps so you can feel informed and confident when seeking emergency dental care for your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy, we recommend calling your family dental practice.

You may need a dental root canal for:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Tooth made fragile from multiple procedures
  • Chipped or cracked tooth
  • Dental trauma

READ MORE: How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal? >>

1. Examine Dental X-Rays

If you come into the dentist’s office with a toothache, the first thing they are going to do is take dental x-rays. While your teeth may appear perfectly healthy on the surface, the inside of your tooth may be telling a different story. 

Dental x-rays are important because they show your dentist the extent of tooth decay and whether surrounding bone has been infected. The dental x-rays will also show the shape of your root canals. 

It’s not uncommon for untreated cavities to grow deep enough to infect the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber is filled with the living tissue of the tooth, which includes blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. To save your tooth, your dentist will need to remove the infected dental pulp and seal the tooth.

2. Give Local Anesthesia

You will feel a small pinch as your dentist injects local anesthesia near the infected tooth. Local anesthesia is used to relieve pain and help ease dental fear and anxiety during the root canal procedure

3. Prep Tooth for Root Canal

The whole point of a root canal is to remove the infected tooth pulp. This is why your dentist goes to extra lengths to make sure the area around the tooth is kept clean. That way, new infection won’t be introduced inside your tooth. 

A special rubber sheet (called a rubber dam) is placed around the tooth, which keeps the tooth dry and free of saliva. Next, your dentist will drill a hole through the top of your tooth so they can access the tooth pulp.

4. Remove Infected Dental Pulp

Your dentist will use root canal files to clean out the inside of your tooth. Every so often, your dentist may flush out the tooth with water or sodium hypochlorite so infected tooth pulp is rinsed away. Your dentist will use files of increasing size so the entire pulp chamber is cleaned.

5. Place Filling and Crown

Most patients need a root canal crownto restore their tooth to its natural shape and strength. After a root canal, it’s also not uncommon for a tooth to be more fragile. To keep your smile looking beautiful, a dentist may recommend you have a crown after a root canal. 

Since dental crowns are usually made in off-site labs, you may need to wait a few weeks until your dental restoration is ready. In that case, your dentist will place a temporary filling to protect your tooth from food particles. Later, they would place a permanent filling, followed by a crown.

Want to Make an Appointment?

The Bloomfield Hills root canal dentists at Glenn Spencer DDS are dedicated to making sure you maintain a healthy smile. If you have a severe toothache and suspect you need an emergency root canal, schedule an appointment with one of our emergency dentists in Bloomfield Hills, MI at (248) 646-6363.

This blog post has been updated.