Frequently Asked Questions About the Root Canal Procedure

Table of Contents

In Canada, dentists regularly and proficiently perform a root canal procedure, a prevalent choice for patients seeking to retain severely damaged or infected teeth. Despite its commonality, there is often a lack of understanding surrounding this dental procedure.

Our aim is to provide clarity and improved comprehension to patients. In this article, we’ll answer common questions about root canal treatment to clarify and educate.

What is a Root Canal Procedure?

The term “root canal” primarily refers to an area inside your tooth. It is commonly used interchangeably with the procedure known as root canal treatment (RCT) or endodontic therapy.

The primary objective of a root canal is to eliminate and replace infected pulp or nerves within a tooth. Neglecting to address the abscess or infection within the root can result in the degradation of the adjacent bone and tooth, potentially leading to more severe complications.

After cleaning, the dental professional disinfects, shapes, and fills the canal with a natural rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. The tooth’s opening is sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling to prevent future infections. 

Modern advancements in diagnosis, radiographic imaging, equipment, and techniques enable dentists and endodontists to perform root canal treatments with exceptional precision.

root canal procedure

Does Root Canal Treatment Hurt?

Because patients receive anesthesia, a root canal treatment isn’t inherently more painful than a typical dental treatment. Individuals experience some soreness or numbness in the area following the procedure, which can occasionally lead to mild discomfort for a few days.

In a survey conducted through questionnaires and available in the Family Medicine and Primary Care Journal, around 66.67% of respondents indicated pain either during or following the procedure. The underlying causes of this pain are multifaceted and can stem from mechanical, chemical, and/or microbial damage to dental tissues that occurs or worsens during RCT. 

Factors contributing to pain during or after the procedure:

  • Patient age/gender
  • Tooth anatomy/position
  • Preoperative symptoms
  • Tooth vitality
  • Use of intracanal medications
  • Biomechanical preparation techniques
  • Overextension/extrusion of sealer or infected debris.

What Signs And Symptoms Suggest A Potential Need For Root Canal Treatment?

Sometimes, an infected tooth isn’t obvious, but specific symptoms can indicate a potential need for root canal treatment. Signs that may suggest the need for root canal therapy include:

Symptom Definition
Persistent Tooth Pain Tooth pain that persists and does not subside. This discomfort may extend to the jaw, face, or adjacent teeth.
Heat and Cold Sensitivity Sensitivity to hot or cold substances may suggest the necessity of root canal therapy, particularly if the pain lingers for more than a few seconds.
Gum Swelling In cases of tooth infection, pus accumulation in the affected area can lead to swollen, tender, or puffy gums.
Gum Pimple The development of a pimple or boil on the gums can indicate a tooth infection. Pus drainage from the infected tooth through the pimple may result in an unpleasant taste or odour.
Jaw Swelling When pus does not effectively drain, visible jaw swelling may occur.
Tooth Discolouration Infections affecting the pulp of a tooth can lead to tooth darkening due to reduced blood supply to the affected tooth.
Pain When Applying Pressure Experiencing pain while eating or when applying pressure to the tooth may signify nerve damage in the pulp.
Chipped or Cracked Tooth If you’ve sustained a tooth injury due to an accident, sports-related incident, or biting down on a hard object, it can allow bacteria to penetrate deep into the tooth pulp.

Does Endodontic Treatment Result in a Dead Tooth?

Root canal treatment involves the removal of nerve tissue, blood vessels, and capillaries from your tooth. This tissue may be alive, but often, as in the case of an infected tooth or dental abscess, it is already dead or necrotic.

Although a tooth treated with a root canal is technically non-vital or “dead,” you can still feel pressure when you chew with it. This is due to numerous tiny nerve fibres within the Periodontal Ligament surrounding the outer surface of your tooth roots.

What Is The Typical Duration Of A Root Canal Procedure?

A straightforward root canal treatment can last 30 to 60 minutes when a tooth has a single canal. Complicated cases can reach up to 90 minutes.

The root canal procedure is relatively extended when it involves the meticulous removal, cleansing, and disinfection of the nerve. Some teeth possess multiple pulp canals, while others have just one. The process includes time for anesthesia, setup, and preparation.

Is It Safe To Eat Following A Root Canal Treatment?

You can consume food following a root canal treatment but wait until the numbness subsides, which usually lasts a few hours. During the initial days, opt for softer foods like pasta, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as your comfort level improves.

Refrain from using the treated tooth for biting or chewing. Try to use the other side of your mouth until your permanent dental restoration is in position.

Can You Drive, Smoke, or Resume Normal Activities After a Root Canal Treatment?

It’s important to refrain from smoking in the days following a root canal procedure. Smoking can adversely affect the healing process, as it diminishes blood flow and may lead to complications.

If you received local anesthesia or nitrous oxide during your treatment, you can drive to and from your appointment independently. Individuals who opt for oral sedation or IV sedation will require assistance from a friend or family member for transportation.

Individuals who have undergone root canal therapy can resume their work or school activities the following day. If you received sedation during the dental procedure, you might require an additional day or two for complete recovery.

Is It Possible For A Root Canal Treatment To Be Unsuccessful?

Yes, root canal treatment can often be unsuccessful. Most commonly, a tooth can become re-infected after treatment. This re-infection may manifest months or even up to 15 years following the initial treatment. The primary cause of re-infection often traces back to an incomplete initial treatment.

For a successful outcome, your dentist must thoroughly reach the end of your root canal or the tip of the root(s) to ensure a fully cleaned space. Another reason behind endodontic failure lies in tooth cracking. A pre-existing tooth crack can allow contaminants and bacteria to infiltrate your jaw that leads to infection or an abscess. Failure to detect one or more cracks can lead to subsequent issues, symptoms of pain, and re-infection down the road.

Is It Common For A Tooth That Has Undergone Root Canal Treatment To Become Discoloured Or Turn Black?

Discolouration of root canal-treated teeth can often be due to pulpal hemorrhage that occurred during the treatment process. When your dentist accesses a live dental pulp, it naturally bleeds. If some blood remnants are present after treatment, gradual tooth discolouration can result.

Options like crowning the tooth or undergoing internal bleaching or tooth whitening can effectively eliminate persistent staining.

Which Option Is Better: Root Canal Treatment Or Tooth Extraction?

Root canal treatment and tooth extractions are two dental procedures used by dental professionals to address damaged or infected teeth. Each approach has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on a thorough evaluation of the tooth’s condition by the dentist.

Criteria Root Canal Treatment Tooth Extraction
Procedure Time 30 to 90 minutes, with multiple sessions Single Session
Tooth Preservation Yes No
Cost Higher initial cost Lower initial cost
Chewing Function Maintains natural chewing function Impaired until healed
Long-term Cost Original tooth preserved May require tooth replacement


In an article published in the Journal of Prosthodontics and Restorative Dentistry, 13.90% of the surveyed patients expressed concerns about the elevated costs associated with RCT and dental crowns. These individuals opted for tooth extraction as an alternative solution.

How Much Does Root Canal Treatment Cost in Canada?

The cost of an RCT can vary significantly, with factors like location playing a key role. In Toronto, for instance, the price for root canal treatment can range from $300 to $2,000.

Root canal treatment on molars tends to be more expensive than on front teeth and bicuspids. Front teeth root canal treatment is generally less costly as they typically have only one canal. Back teeth can possess up to three canals.

On average, you can expect to pay around $1,000 for a root canal, depending on the specific tooth that requires the procedure. 


root canal procedure



Endodontic treatment enables you to preserve your natural smile, enjoy your favourite foods, and reduce the necessity for recurrent dental procedures. When given appropriate care, most teeth that have undergone root canal treatment can remain functional throughout your lifetime.

Westgate Dental Centre, a Maple Ridge Dental Clinic, provides a safe and effective root canal procedure. Our team of experts takes pride in tailoring treatment procedures to meet individual needs.If you’re looking for Maple Ridge root canal treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of dentists at Westgate Dental Centre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial