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Root canals get a lot of bad press. They are a common dental procedure aimed at saving and keeping your severely damaged or infected teeth. While the term “root canal” can evoke fear and anxiety in some patients, understanding the procedure can alleviate concerns and help patients feel more prepared. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about root canals before visiting the dentist.


What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure performed to remove infected or damaged pulp from the inside of a tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that help the tooth grow during its development. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, a root canal is necessary to alleviate pain and save the tooth.


When is a Root Canal Needed?

A root canal becomes necessary when a tooth is infected due to deep decay, a crack or chip, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. Common symptoms indicating the need for a root canal include severe toothache, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling, and gum tenderness.


The Procedure: What to Expect

Before the procedure, your dentist will take an X-ray to evaluate the tooth’s condition and plan the treatment. On the day of the root canal, you will be administered local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. Then, the dentist will create a small access hole in the tooth to reach the infection. The pulp is carefully removed, and the root canals are cleaned, shaped, and disinfected. Afterward, the tooth is filled and sealed with a temporary or permanent filling material. In most cases, a dental crown is placed to provide strength and protection to the treated tooth.


Root Canal Myths and Facts

There are several misconceptions about root canals that can cause unnecessary worry. It’s important to separate fact from fiction to make informed decisions. Some common myths include associating root canals with excruciating pain, causing illness, or being an unnecessary procedure. In reality, modern techniques and anesthesia make root canals relatively painless, the procedure eliminates the source of infection, and it is often the best way to save a tooth.


Post-Root Canal Care

After the root canal procedure, it is important to take proper care of the treated tooth to promote healing and prevent further complications. Your dentist will provide specific instructions, but general guidelines include avoiding chewing on hard or sticky foods, practicing good oral hygiene, and scheduling follow-up appointments to monitor the tooth’s progress.


Alternatives to Root Canals

In some cases, a root canal may not be the only option. Your dentist may suggest alternatives such as an extraction or a dental implant. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option, considering factors like tooth preservation, long-term oral health, aesthetics, and cost.


Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of a root canal can vary depending on factors such as the tooth location, complexity of the procedure, and the need for additional dental work like crowns. It is advisable to discuss the cost and potential insurance coverage with your dentist or dental insurance provider beforehand.



Understanding the root canal procedure and what to expect can help alleviate anxiety and ensure a smoother dental experience. Remember, root canals are intended to relieve pain, save your natural tooth, and restore oral health. By seeking timely treatment and following your dentist’s instructions, you can maintain a healthy smile for years to come. 


If you are experiencing problems with your teeth, it is always best to call to schedule a proper evaluation by Dr. Phil Henzlik to determine if a root canal is warranted. If you and your family are ready to start your journey toward healthier smiles, visit us at Modern Mint Dental Care by calling 720-853-0350, emailing [email protected], or book online.