Blog Understanding The 3 Phases Of Root Canal Treatment

Understanding The 3 Phases Of Root Canal Treatment

You may have heard about root canal treatment if you experience soreness and discomfort with an infected tooth. Root canal therapy removes the teeth’s infected soft tissue while preserving as much of the original tooth structure as possible. It is a dental procedure with three distinct phases: preparation, filling, and restoration stages that build upon one another.

Knowing the steps of a root canal treatment can empower patients to make informed decisions about their oral health care. We’ll take an in-depth look at the three phases of a root canal so you’ll know what to expect from this dental procedure.


What Causes Root Canal Problems?

Root canals are susceptible to many of the same problems, including decay, repair issues and damage. However, other conditions may lead to a root canal becoming damaged or infected.

The most common is an untreated cavity. When left unchecked, the cavity spreads to the root and becomes infected, leading to an abscess. The pain caused by an abscess is very severe and may require emergency treatment. A cracked tooth or trauma can also lead to problems with a root canal. If a crack extends into the root, bacteria can get inside and cause an infection. It can lead to a painful abscess that may require antibiotics or surgery.

Sometimes, a root canal problem occurs because of inadequate cleaning. Overcrowding or misaligned teeth may make it difficult to thoroughly clean the area where bacteria or debris can be left behind. Periodontitis can also lead to root canal infection as it damages the gums and underlying structures of the teeth, including the roots.

Root canal treatment addresses an infected or damaged root. It involves cleaning out the infected material and debris from within the root, shaping it, sealing it, and restoring it with a crown or other dental appliance. It involves three stages: preparation, filling, and restoration.

The Preparation Stage: Cleaning & Shaping the Root Canal

The first stage is the preparation – removing the diseased pulp, cleaning and shaping the inside of the root canal, and applying an antiseptic solution. The dentist uses X-rays to identify areas needing treatment and endodontic instruments to clean and shape.

The dentist will first access the area using various tools to clean out infected or damaged tissue in the root canal. They will drill down through the top of the tooth to reach the infected material within it. After accessing the infected tissue, your dentist will use an endodontic file to remove infected tissue and debris from the root canal.

The dentist then uses a reamer and plugger or spreader to shape and enlarge the canals to be smooth and free of sharp edges. It helps remove all bacteria to avoid further infection or failure of the root canal treatment. It also allows easy filling of the canals with a sealant.

The Filling Stage: Temporary Filling & Sealing of the Root Canal

After the area has been thoroughly cleaned, they’ll fill the space in your tooth with a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a strong, heat-resistant material that reduces pain caused by bacteria or debris during healing and protects the treated tooth from further infection.

After the gutta-percha is placed, your dentist will use a special dental sealer to seal off the canals of your tooth. It ensures that bacteria and infections are kept from re-entering the tooth. Temporary filling and sealant also help to keep saliva and other fluids from entering the root canal system and causing further damage.

The Restoration Stage: Adding a Dental Crown

The final stage of root canal treatment is restoration, which involves adding a dental crown. A crown covers the visible portion of your tooth – restoring its shape and size. 

During this stage, your dentist will make a dental impression so that a replica of your tooth can be made and sent to a lab to be crafted. Upon receiving the crown, your dentist will check its accuracy and cement it over the tooth. The dental crown is a durable barrier and protects the treated area from future infection or damage.

After the Procedure

After the root canal treatment, the treated area should be relatively pain-free. However, you may feel some minor discomfort or sensitivity in the days following your procedure. It should go away in a few days, and your dentist may recommend over-the-counter medications to help manage any pain or discomfort.

It’s also important to stick to regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene practices to ensure your root canal stays healthy and free of infection – brush twice daily, floss daily, and use mouthwash regularly.

How Long Do Root Canals Last?

Root canals can last a lifetime when properly cared for. Most teeth treated with a root canal will last as long as any other tooth. However, you may need a repeat root canal procedure if a tooth becomes infected again or there are other complications.

However, the success rate of re-treating a root canal is lower than treating it initially. Take care of your teeth to avoid needing a second root canal by maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.


Root canal treatment is safe and effective with the help of skilled professionals like your dentist. It helped millions of people keep their teeth healthy and strong. With proper care, root canals can last a lifetime! If you have questions about root canals or need one, contact your dentist for more information.

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