Root Canal
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Root Canal

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

If you are reading this you were likely just told that you need a root canal.


The reasons for a root canal can vary.  The most common reason to get a root canal is that you have a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, a large filling, or you sustained serious trauma to the tooth.


Years ago if you were diagnosed with any of the common causes previously listed your dentist would simply extract the tooth.  However, we now realize that it is much better to treat the tooth then to remove the tooth.

Your dentist has recommended a root canal to save your tooth and the surrounding gums. A root canal is less expensive than a replacement tooth and is certainly better than simply extracting the tooth and leaving an empty space.


A tooth that is removed and not replaced will cause your teeth to shift. This will make biting and chewing difficult, not to mention the ensuing gum disease that can happen when those hard to get to areas are not thoroughly cleaned.

What is a Root Canal?

The pulp is soft tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels.  When the pulp is injured or diseased and is unable to repair itself, it dies. The pulp is infected when bacteria is allowed to enter the pulp.


For example, a crack or injury could allow dangerous bacteria to infect the pulp. If the pulp is not removed, the bacteria can damage the bone that anchors the tooth and jaw. If left untreated, the tooth may have to be extracted.

How Long will the Restored Tooth Last?

To keep your teeth healthy, you still need to clean your teeth and have regular dental exams. However, a restored tooth will likely last many years.


If you would like to get additional information, please call (301) 530-2212 and schedule an appointment with me.

What Should I Expect When I Get a Root Canal?

A root canal will involve several visits to your dentist. You can expect the following:

Step One

For your comfort, your tooth will be numbed. Next, a thin sheet is placed over your tooth to keep the surface area dry. Then an opening is made through the crown of your tooth into the pulp chamber.

Step Two

Next the tooth’s nerve or pulp is removed. This is done from inside of the tooth, the pulp chamber and from the root canal, the space inside the root. Then the root is cleaned and shaped so that it can be filled.

Step Three

Your dentist may also choose to place some medicine in the pulp chamber to get rid of any residual bacteria.

Step Four

The final step of the first stage of treatment is to seal the root and pulp chamber with a specialized type of root canal filling material. Then a temporary filling will be placed over the opening of the tooth. This will protect the tooth until a crown can be made.

Step Five

At this point, you may be sent home and your dentist may prescribe some type of medicine. If you have any problems, you should call your dentist.

Step Six

Shortly after your root canal you will return to your dentist to be fitted for a crown. The crown will replace the temporary filling.

***This post is for information purposes only. This posting does not offer medical advice, so nothing in it should be construed as medical advice. The information on this blog/post is only offered for informational purposes. You shouldn’t act or rely on anything in this blog or posting or use it as a substitute for medical advice from a licensed professional. The content of this posting may quickly become outdated, especially due to the nature of the topics covered, which are constantly evolving. The materials and information on this posting/blog are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or timely. Nothing in this posting/blog and nothing you or I do creates a doctor-patient relationship between you and the blog; between you and me; or between you and Robert Mazziotta, DDS., or BethesdaFamilyDental.com. Even if you try to contact me through the blog or post a comment on the blog you are still not creating a doctor-patient relationship. Although, I am a doctor, I’m not YOUR doctor until and unless there is a written agreement specifically providing for a doctor-patient relationship.***