What Happens When You Get A Root Canal

Posted on: 13 September 2022

You never want a cavity to go below the layer of enamel and dentin of your tooth, as it will likely reach the nerves. This means that it cannot be fixed with a standard filling, and you'll need to get a root canal to fix it. Here is an overview of what to expect during a root canal.


The process starts by putting a dental dam around your tooth, which is designed to isolate your tooth completely. The dental dam gets sealed around the tooth so that nothing will get past it while performing a root canal.

Decay Removal

The dentist will remove the decay in the tooth just as if it is a normal cavity. They will need to get rid of all the existing decay, or else the decay is going to continue to cause the tooth to deteriorate after you place a crown on it. This can cause you to come back to the dentist to remove the crown and get rid of the missed decay, and you definitely do not want to do that.

Canal Filing

The canals of the tooth are actually filed down using a special tool called a hand file, which has various sized files that can be used. There are also rotary files, which are very similar but powered by a motor to perform the rotation. These tools help open up the canal and clean it out so that they have a working path down to the root's tip.


An x-ray is typically taken at this point in the root canal process to verify that the dentist has reached the proper depth of the tooth. If the dentist has not cleared out the root to the proper depth, they'll go back in with the files and cleaning solution to continue until they get down to the root's tip.


A cleaning solution will be placed into the tooth, which also lubricates the area and opens up the pores of the tooth. Since bacteria is within the tooth, opening up the pores is crucial to get all the bacteria out. You'll notice that there is a pattern of agitating the surface of the toot hand cleansing it out. Paper points are then used to dry the inside of the tooth.

Canal Filling

The dentist will not place a special material to pack the inside of the tooth's root and prevent any more bacteria from getting down to the root. The dentist will continue backfilling and compacting material until the tooth is filled to the surface.


The final steps involve cleaning up around your tooth, removing the dental dam, and potentially taking a final x-ray. A temporary or same-day crown may be put on the tooth to protect it. 

Reach out to a local dentist to find out more.