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Why Is a Root Canal Necessary?

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The dentists are trained to perform a wide variety of procedures to solve your dental issues. Furthermore, each procedure has particular indications and should only be performed according to the case.

One of the most common procedures you probably heard of is a root canal treatment, often called just root canal. These procedures are usually performed to ease toothache and prevent tooth extraction. However, the reality is more complex, and there are still a lot of misconceptions regarding this treatment.

Fortunately, our dentists at Northstar Dental Care can explain in detail why you might need a root canal. Moreover, they can perform these procedures without causing any discomfort.

In this article, we’ll talk about root canals and why you might need one.

What is a root canal? 

Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that consists in removing the dental pulp from the inside of the tooth. 

The tooth is later filled with a specialized material that seals the root canals, prevents infections, and maintains the tooth in its place.

One of the most common misconceptions regarding root canals is their association with pain. 

Nonetheless, the dentist performs the root canal under local anesthesia, preventing you from feeling any pain or discomfort throughout the treatment. Besides, this is necessary as the dental pulp contains the nerve responsible for toothache.

Why does the pulp need to be removed?        

First, pulp removal is required to prevent infections caused by bacteria left after the tooth’s death.

Secondly, removing all damaged pulp helps treat the infection that has already developed.

Understand that the dental pulp is the soft tissue that resides inside a chamber in the middle of each tooth. This pulp chamber also extends along with the roots and is called the root canal. 

The pulp contains micro blood vessels that nourish the tooth and the nerve that allows it to feel.

However, the pulp is highly sensitive, and external stimuli can cause it to inflame and trigger a pain reaction. In fact, this stimulus includes cavities near the pulp and trauma.

Usually, removing the stimuli is enough to restore the pulp to its normal state. Yet, if it is left untreated or the stimulus is too strong, the pulp inflammation can become irreversible. 

When this happens, the pulp begins to die and releases bacteria, leading to an infection. Later, this infection can spread to the bone and cause an abscess.

How is a root canal performed?   

It usually takes 1 or 2 visits to complete a root canal treatment. However, it is deeply tied to the complexity of the case and the expertise of the dentist.

First, the dentist opens a hole and reaches the pulp chamber. Then, the pulp is completely removed from both the chamber and roots. Once this is done, the tooth is no longer vital and won’t be able to develop a toothache or feel temperature changes, such as cold or hot.

Later, the canals need to be filled. Still, before continuing, the dentist needs to disinfect and widen them. Disinfection prevents leftover bacteria from causing infection after the root canal treatment is completed.

Furthermore, the dentist uses special tools to widen the canals while removing bacteria from their walls. This preparation also gives the canal a better shape, allowing for a hermetic seal once filled. Moreover, it also reduces the risk of infection.

Once everything is ready, the root canals are filled with a thermoplastic material called gutta-percha. As a result, it prevents bacteria from traveling from the mouth to the bone through the roots. Additionally, it prevents infections and bone abscesses from developing.

Temporary filling  

Root canals are always part of a larger plan to restore a tooth.

The dentist places a temporary filling on the tooth once the procedure is completed. Afterward, it needs to be replaced with a definite restoration. Some alternatives can range from a simple composite restoration to a crown, and will be determined by the characteristics of the case.


Root canals are a frequent procedure where the dentist removes the dental pulp. By doing so, it is possible to prevent and treat infections that could lead to tooth extraction when left untreated.

Although it is usually associated with pain, root canals are always performed under anesthesia. This prevents any discomfort throughout the procedure and provides relief to the patient.

If you need a root canal treatment, make an appointment at Northstar Dental Care. Ease your pain and achieve the oral health you deserve.

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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