What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure

If you or your child are told that you’re in need of a root canal, you may be slightly nervous as you don’t know exactly what to expect. While it may sound scary, root canals have become rather painless and common procedures that can be completed with minimal discomfort. In fact, most patients describe that it feels the same as getting a routine filling.

Root canals are needed if the pulp inside the tooth is decayed. During the procedure, the pulp is removed, and a crown may be placed over it.

X-Rays and Anesthetic

Before the root canal procedure begins, your doctor will take some x-ray images of your infected tooth to determine where the infection is and to ensure that all of it will be removed. When they determine exactly what they’re working with, before beginning the procedure, they’ll numb up the area with a local anesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. While you may feel some pressure, at no point in the procedure should you feel strong discomfort or pain.


While it may sound intense, this part of the procedure won’t cause pain because of the anesthetic. The dentist will most likely put a rubber dam on the tooth, which is a small rubber square, to make it easier for them to focus on one tooth at a time. The drilling will then make a hole to remove the decayed tissue; they will then clean out the inside after the tissue is removed.

Sealing the Tooth

After the infected tooth matter is taken out, the tooth must be sealed. Your dentist may do it directly after, or wait about a week or so if the tooth is infected and needs medication to heal it. If your tooth isn’t sealed the same day, you’ll receive a temporary filling so that nothing gets inside the hole before being sealed.

The filling consists of sealer paste and rubber material that’s put in the drilled hole. If the decaying was severe enough, you may need additional work such as a crown. Your dentist will communicate with you if they think you need another procedure.

Root Canal Treatment Aftercare

For several days after the procedure, you’ll likely feel some extra sensitivity in the affected tooth. For any sensitivity, pain, or swelling, you can use over-the-counter pain medications or topical gel. Try to avoid chewing on that tooth, especially anything hard or sticky that could irritate it more.

During this recovery period, it’s best to stick to soft foods, avoid smoking and exercising, getting plenty of rest, and using an ice pack to minimize swelling and discomfort.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you’re in pain or sense something is wrong with your oral health, it’s best to make an appointment with our team at Rio so you can get to the bottom of the issue. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the issue will become more severe. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms or simply haven’t gotten a cleaning in more than six months, call our Family Dentistry in Fort Worth today to schedule an appointment.

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You can play a part in preparing your child for his or her first visit to our office. Informing your child of the visit as an exciting experience for both of you can ease any hesitations. As a parent try to act relaxed, since your child may sense any anxiety on your part.

Explain to your child that the doctor will “count, brush, and maybe take pictures of their teeth”. We also ask that you assume the role of a silent observer. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between the doctor, staff, and your child and not through you. Your child may become confused if receiving instructions from multiple sources.

We recommend bringing your baby in for their first dental appointment by their first birthday, or within 6 months of their first tooth appearing (whichever comes first). During this appointment, we will examine your baby’s mouth to track their dental development and discuss age-appropriate dental care.

It’s easy to make appointments to visit our office online or over the phone. Rio Dental sees patients both for checkups and dental emergencies. Using our online scheduler, you can select the location and time slot that works best for you for either type of appointment. If you have any questions regarding our practice, or simply prefer to make your appointment with a live member of staff, please don’t hesitate to call!

Rio Dental Group accepts most PPO insurances. We recommend that new patients and returning patients with new insurance policies reach out to us before their appointment to confirm coverage. Our Fort Worth location also sees patients who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP programs.

We don’t like surprises, either! Our staff is prepared to discuss the cost of dental services before you undergo treatment so that you know what to expect in terms of fees. The cost of your services will be due at the end of your appointment. Our office accepts payment by cash, credit card, or check.

Rio Dental Group allows patients to pay with their CareCredit card. CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designed to cover out-of-pocket costs at over 225,000 providers nationwide. After leaving the office, card holders will be able to make convenient monthly payments towards their balance. To learn more, visit the CareCredit website.

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