What You Should Know About Root Canal Therapy

Not everyone will have to undergo root canal therapy in their lives, but if you do, then the prospect might seem daunting. All most people know about the procedure is that it involves accessing the interior of your tooth, which at first thought, might sound pretty uncomfortable. If you’ve never had one before, however, then you might not realize that, if you need to treat your root canals, then you’re likely in a formidable amount of tooth pain already.

What Are Root Canals?

The roots of a tooth extend under your gums and into the jawbone, which support and sustain the tooth by sending minerals and nutrients through the roots’ canals. When a tooth is infected with decay, bacteria erode the crown’s structure, and if they’re not stopped in time, the bacteria will reach the tissues at the center of the tooth. Called the pulp, this inner chamber is connected to the tooth’s roots, and root canal therapy is the only way to stop a severe infection from travelling through the root canals.

What Happens During Root Canal Therapy?

During treatment, the first step is to anesthetize the tooth and surrounding tissues to numb the area. Then, we’ll create a small opening in the tooth to access its inner chamber and root canals. After cleaning and sterilizing the tooth by removing the infected tissues, we’ll seal the roots with an advanced, rubber-like substance (called gutta percha), then reinforce it with a composite-resin filling. Finally, a dental crown will be custom-designed and placed over the tooth to provide structural support and improve its appearance.

Are There Other Options?

Because of the slightly invasive nature of the procedure, root canals are typically reserved as a last-resort to save the tooth. In many cases, the next step is to extract the tooth because the infection as destroyed it beyond saving. Before a tooth infection becomes that serious, you can treat a mild to moderate cavity with a tooth-colored filling, or prevent the infection with good hygiene and regular dental care.


Calcagno Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offer expert services including teeth whitening, Six Month Smiles, Invisalign, root canals, and pediatric dentistry. To schedule a consultation, please call (507) 218-8936. Dr. Gilly Calcagno and Dr. Kara Heimer welcome and serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, Austin, and the surrounding communities.