Root canals; FAQs answered

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Have you recently had a dental infection? Are you worried about needing to have a root canal?

Read on for the answers to 5 common FAQs about root canals or endodontics.

Why would someone need a root canal?

Your dentist Wagga may suggest a root canal if you have an infected tooth caused by decay or if you have recently suffered a trauma to the mouth which has exposed the nerve of one of your teeth.

Do root canals hurt?

Many patients assume that a root canal is going to hurt, but in most cases, they resolve the discomfort that the patient is experiencing.

As mentioned before, most people have a root canal performed because they have a dental abscess, which is going to cause a lot of pressure and discomfort. As a root canal removes the source of the infection from the roots of the teeth, this can go a long way towards preventing any further discomfort. Also, if you have an infected tooth, your dental team will probably prescribe antibiotics, which can also help to stop the infection, once again alleviating the associated soreness.

So, long story short, no root canals do not hurt and before your dental team begins the process, your mouth will be sufficiently numbed, so there is nothing to worry about!

Does the tooth die after a root canal?

woman in dentist

This is a bit of an ambivalent answer.

Technically, as your dental team will remove the pulp of the tooth (or the majority of the pulp), the tooth is to all intents and purposes dead. The tooth is then filled with gutta-percha to restore its strength.

Thanks to this, you can still retain the use of it; you can still bite with it, chew with it and smile with it without any issues, so it is still usable as a tooth and requires no special care to keep it working. Plus, you will still be able to feel the tooth when you are biting into food and using it to grind up food.

How long do they last?

With correct oral hygiene and aftercare, a root canal can easily last the rest of your life without the infection recurring or any issue with the filling itself.

This will mean that you will need to maintain good oral hygiene; brush your teeth twice a day and of course, be sure to attend dental check-ups every 6 months. This will allow your dental team to be able to check on the condition of your root canal and to ensure that the crown or filling that has secured the work is still in place.

Are extractions better?

Many patients have concerns that having a root canal will create an issue with their overall dental health and that having the tooth extracted would be a better option.

But dental extractions are not necessarily better; for one thing, if the infected or damaged tooth is located at the front of the mouth, it can cause issues with aesthetics.

Also, with an extracted tooth, you are running the risk of creating a dental misalignment; as the jaw and gum shrink back after a tooth has been extracted. This can cause the surrounding teeth to become misaligned, meaning that you may then have to pay out for braces or aligners.

Root canals bypass this issue by keeping the tooth in your mouth where it needs to be.


Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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