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Root Canal Treatment
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Reasons for Procedure
- Pain when biting down on a tooth
- Pain when the tooth is not being used
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food or beverages
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen gums around the infected tooth
- A draining boil-like structure (called a fistula) on the gum adjacent to the tooth
- Pain and swelling
- Surgical-wound infection
- Persistent abscess
- Inability to save the tooth
- Immune system disorders
- Bleeding disorders
- Circulatory problems that can cause healing problems (such as diabetes)
What to Expect
Prior to the Procedure
- Do a thorough dental exam
- X-ray your mouth to look at the extent of damage to the tooth
Description of the Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
- Permanently seal the area
- Place a gold or porcelain crown over the tooth to strengthen its structure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
- Be sure to follow your dentist's instructions.
- Use warm, salt-water rinses to soothe your mouth.
- For a few days, avoid heavy biting and chewing on the side of the mouth that has the root canal.
- See your dentist for a follow-up x-ray as scheduled.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the area around the tooth
- Tooth loosens after root canal treatment
- Headache, muscle aches, dizziness, or general malaise
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
American Dental Association http://www.ada.org
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research http://www.nidcr.nih.gov
Canadian Dental Association http://www.cda-adc.ca
Canadian Dental Hygienists Association http://www.cdha.ca
Root canal (endodontic) treatment. American Dental Association website. Available at: http://www.ada.org/public/topics/root%5Fcanal.asp. Accessed September 16, 2009.
What is a root canal? Academy of General Dentistry website. Available at: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/. Updated February 2007. Accessed September 16, 2009.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 08/15/2012