What Is A Root Canal?

Dentist Xray

Typically speaking, root canals are not something people tend to get excited about. However, there is no need to worry if your dentist prescribes a root canal procedure. At McKim and Platt Dentistry, our office provides comprehensive, state-of-the-art general dentistry in Eugene with an emphasis on comfort, function, and longevity.

What Is A Root Canal?

The term “root canal” is used interchangeably to refer to both the inner passages of the tooth between the pulp and roots and also to the dental procedure that addresses inflammation or infections of this area.

Root canal treatment is necessary when a tooth’s pulp has become inflamed or infected. Deep tooth decay caused by untreated cavities or other tooth injuries can cause tooth pulp to become infected. In cases such as these, your dentist will need to perform a root canal treatment, otherwise known as endodontic treatment.

Symptoms of a Root Canal

Signs that you may need a root canal treatment include:

  • Sharp, intense pain when biting down
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Tenderness or swelling of the gums
  • Discoloration or darkening of the infected tooth
  • A small bump may appear next to the tooth
  • If left untreated, the infection can cause an abscess, which can lead to swelling of the face and neck and bone loss around the roots of teeth.

The Root Canal Procedure

A root canal procedure (endodontic treatment) involves removing the infected tooth pulp and restoring the lost tooth structure. The procedures typically go as followed:

  1. Your dental professional will examine and x-ray your tooth, then administer local anesthetic.
  2. Once numb, an access hole is drilled into the crown of the tooth and small instruments are used to remove the infected pulp tissue and damaged nerve and clean out and shape the canals.
  3. Once the infected material is removed and the canals have been cleaned, your dentist will use a rubber substance to fill and seal the canals. A temporary filling is then placed over the access hole.
  4. At your next appointment, a composite filling will be placed in the center of the tooth and topped off with a permanent crown.


After you have your root canal procedure, you should not bite down or chew with that tooth until it has been fully restored with a permanent crown. You may experience some pain and sensitivity after a root canal. Be sure to follow a regular oral care routine to maintain your crown and avoid future tooth pain.

For preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, and periodontal treatment contact Holub Dentistry to schedule an appointment. We make it easier for our patients to get dental health care from a very experienced and skilled dentist you can trust who has been taking care of patient’s dental needs in Lane County for over 40 years.

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