Everything You Need to Know About Root Canals

A root canal surgery is a procedure to remove an infection from the inner part of the tooth’s root, called the root canal. The root canal is home to “pulp”, a collection of nerves, blood vessels, and other cells that provide nutrients to the tooth. Infections in the pulp can cause intense pain and lead to more severe health consequences, so it’s crucial to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn more about the root canal process and what you can do to prevent needing one!

The Root Canal Process

There are three main steps to the root canal process that we’ll outline below. For more information about the root canal procedure at Gentle Dental Maine, check out our root canal service page


To begin the procedure, the dentist will administer local anesthesia. Next, they will drill a small hole at the tooth’s surface. From there, the dentist will use intricate tools to enter the tooth through the hole and clean out the dead or infected pulp.

Filling The Canal

After the canal has been cleaned of all dead tissue with files and rinsing solutions, the empty space is filled with soft material and sealed closed. This will prevent further infection. Because the roots have been removed of their nerve tissue, the patient will no longer feel any pain in that tooth. 

Covering the Tooth

The final step in the root canal procedure is to cover the drilled hole properly to reduce the risk of further damage or cracking. Because the tooth is now technically dead and not receiving nutrients from the inner pulp, it will be much weaker and will deteriorate faster than the remaining teeth. This problem is solved using a crown or filling that will protect the integrity of the tooth. 

Do Root Canals Hurt? 

The root canal procedure is not very painful, especially when performed by an experienced dental surgeon. A local anesthetic will help prevent pain during the process, and over-the-counter pain medication is generally sufficient for post-surgical pain. 

Root Canal Prevention

The key to preventing the need for a root canal treatment is excellent oral hygiene. Keeping the mouth clean and free of bacteria means that infection and decay are significantly less likely to occur. Here are a few tips: 

  • Brush at least twice a day (once in the morning & once before bedtime)
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • See your dentist for routine cleanings (at least twice per year)
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Avoid sugary food and drinks

Contact Gentle Dental Maine!

If you have any questions about root canals or require dental services in the Southern Maine region, don’t hesitate to contact Gentle Dental! We provide professional family dentistry services at each of our offices in South Portland, Biddeford, and Topsham. Give us a call at any one of our offices, or if you’re not yet a patient with us, please fill out the new patient form on our website!