Root Canal Before and After: 2 Useful Alternatives

Root canal before and after involves the steps that are taken before getting the procedure and what to expect after the process. A root canal is not a scary procedure although it is normal to have worries and questions about the procedure. Root canal is not done on a healthy tooth but an infected one to prevent further damage and pain. Anyone can get a root canal including children, the procedure is same. 


Root canal is a dental procedure that involves removing damaged and inflamed tissues while preventing the natural tooth from decaying further. The tooth pulp has connective tissue, blood vessels and nerves. This pulp is in the tooth’s root and keeps it healthy. When there is any infection, decay or damage to the tooth, the pulp starts to damage or deteriorate.

As the dental pulp is damaged, a painful pus-filled pocket or abscess will form at the root of the tooth. To stop the infection from affecting other teeth, save the affected tooth from further damage and relieve pain, root canal procedure is done.


There are many reasons why a root canal is done, some of the benefits of having a root canal are:

  • It can relieve the symptoms that are associated a damaged root canal.
  • Can stop the infection from spreading to other teeth in the mouth.
  • It is done to avoid damaging the tooth more which can lead to tooth extraction.
  • Also, it can prevent the jaw from being damaged.


1. Before The Root Canal

There are symptoms that will show your tooth root canal is infected and needs to be treated. 

Pus Around The Tooth: You will develop pus or abscess in the root of the tooth.

Swollen gums: The pus in the root if the tooth will cause the gums to be swollen, tender and puffy.

Constant tooth pain that does not go away: Most tooth problems cause pain but if the pain is constant and does not go away even after taking pain relief medicines, then you can check for infected root canal. The pain can also be on the jaw or face where the tooth is in.

Sensitivity to heat and cold: If you notice your tooth becomes painful when you eat or drink hot and cold substances, it can be caused by damaged root canal. You can also need root canal procedure if the sensitivity lasts longer than few seconds.

Pimple on the gums: There may be boil on the gums, these boils and pimples may bring out pus that gives you a bad taste or smell.

Swollen jaw: The pus in the tooth root makes the gums to swell up. As the gums are swollen, the jaws are also affected. 

Pain when pressure is applied: You feel pain when you touch or eat with the affected tooth. The more pressure is applied on the tooth, the more you feel pain.

Tooth discoloration: The infection stops or reduces blood from being supplied to the rest of the tooth. This makes the tooth to look darker and discolored.

Loose Tooth: The dental pulp makes the tooth bone healthy and strong, so when the pulp is infected or bad, the bone is affected as well. This can cause the tooth to become loose.

You may be given antibiotics before the procedure if the infection in the tooth root canal is much. 

2. During The Root Canal

This is the procedure or process it takes for a root canal to be done. The first step will be an x-ray to detect the root canal, its size and shape. The x-ray will also show the infection and if it has spread to surrounding bone. After the x-ray, the root canal is done.  

The following steps are taken:

A local anesthesia is given to numb the tooth and nearby areas, this is to done to reduce the pain you will feel during the procedure. A small sheet of rubber or dental dam may be placed around the tooth to help prevent saliva from interfering. The dental dam is also used to keep the tooth dry and clean. 

The dentist or endodontist drills a hole in the affected tooth to gain access to the insides. The infected pulp, damaged tissues and bacteria are removed. The root canal is thoroughly cleaned and rinsed. The dentist fills the holes made in the tooth and sealed with a sealant.

If the case is severe, an antibacterial medicine can be applied in the tooth to kill any other bacteria and a temporary filling is placed on the teeth. A second appointment is booked to clean the teeth again and a permanent filling or crown is placed on the tooth. The whole procedure may take between 30 to 60 minutes to be done but if the infection is severe, it may take up to an hour or more.

3. After Root Canal

The procedure causes numbness and pain in the tooth, these are normal and fade away after some time. The numbness may take 2-4 hours after the procedure while the pain may take up to 3 days to properly heal. The pain is always mild and can be relieved by using over-the-counter pain relief medicines. If the pain persists or increases after 3 days, you should go back to your dentist. The recovery time can be less than a week or up to a week but if it lasts more than that, you should see your dentist.

There are some tips that will help your recovery to be fast, these tips are:

  • Eat soft foods so as not put pressure on the tooth and cause more pain or damage the fillings before they are settled.
  • Avoid smoking after a root canal, it can increase the infection and damage your tooth as well.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing will help to prevent the infection from recurring.
  • Antibacterial mouthwash is recommended to help keep bacteria away. You can also use lukewarm saltwater to remove food particles from the mouth.
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks.


A dead tooth does not get fresh supply of blood. It can cause discoloration, pain, bad breath and taste. To treat a dead tooth, a root canal can be done or the tooth is removed but a root canal is recommended because it can help keep the tooth intact. The procedure for having a root canal procedure on a dead tooth is same as a normal tooth.

A hole is made to gain access to the insides of the tooth, small instruments are used to remove the pulp and clean the infection. After the tooth is cleaned, fillings are used in the root and it is also sealed. A crown may be recommended if the hole in the tooth is large or the enamel is damaged.

To treat the discoloration, tooth bleaching may be done or porcelain veneer can be placed over the tooth to cover the discolored tooth. However, if the tooth is severely damaged and cannot be restored, the dentist mat recommend removing the tooth. If removed, a dental implant or bridge is used to replace the extracted tooth.


Not all root canal procedures are successful, there can be complications or reasons like severe damage to the tooth that can make the procedure to fail. There are symptoms that can show if a root canal procedure is not successful. These symptoms usually occur after a root canal procedure, you should see your dentist immediately.

  • Pus in the gum or tooth root
  • Severe pain
  • Swollen gums
  • Dark or discolored tooth
  • Pimples on the gum


1. If the first root canal procedure is not successful, your dentist can suggest root canal retreatment, this is possible. But if it is not, the only alternative is to extract the tooth. This is the best alternative so as to protect the oral health and save other teeth. 

2. Dental implant or dental bridge can be fixed to the teeth. A dental implant is made of metal screw like posts and is used to replace the removed tooth. A dental bridge on the other, is a false tooth that is held in place by dental crowns. 


Root canal is done to treat infected pulp and also to save the tooth from further damage. It involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning out the insides of the tooth. The tooth is also disinfected and filled in. Root canal can be done to any teeth including baby teeth and dead tooth.

It is the best alternative to extracting the damaged tooth.  If you are getting a root canal, it is best to follow the guidelines given before the procedure and after in order to fasten your recovery process and help your tooth stay healthy. 

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