Root canal treatment is one of the most misunderstood dental procedures. The mere mention of it can make even the bravest of patients shudder. However, it’s essential to understand that the procedure is not as daunting as it sounds. 

In fact, it is a routine dental treatment designed to save a severely damaged or infected tooth. In this article, we’ll take you through the essential steps of a root canal procedure, helping you to understand what to expect during the process.

Step 1: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning 

The first step in getting a root canal is diagnosing the problem. You’ll need to see your dentist, who will examine your teeth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection. Once the dentist has diagnosed the problem, they’ll discuss with you the treatment options available. In some cases, the dentist may recommend a root canal as the best way to save the tooth and alleviate your symptoms.

Step 2: Numbing the Affected Tooth 

Before the procedure begins, your dentist will numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area. They’ll use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth’s nerves and ensure that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. You may feel some pressure or vibration, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.

Step 3: Creating an Access Hole 

Once the area is numb, the dentist will create an access hole in the tooth’s crown to reach the pulp chamber. They’ll use a dental drill to remove the top part of the tooth and expose the pulp chamber, where the nerves and blood vessels are located.

Step 4: Removing the Infected or Damaged Tissue 

The next step is to remove the infected or damaged tissue from the pulp chamber. The dentist will use a series of small files to clean the pulp chamber and root canals thoroughly. They’ll also use an antimicrobial solution to kill any remaining bacteria and prevent further infection.

Step 5: Shaping the Root Canals 

Once the pulp chamber is clean, the dentist will shape the root canals using small files. They’ll remove any remaining infected tissue and shape the canals to allow for filling material to be inserted. The dentist may use an irrigation solution to flush out debris and ensure that the canals are clean.

Step 6: Filling the Root Canals 

The next step is to fill the root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The dentist will place the gutta-percha into the canals and use a special adhesive to ensure that it stays in place. The gutta-percha acts as a sealant, preventing bacteria from entering the tooth and causing further infection.

Step 7: Sealing the Access Hole 

After the root canals are filled, the dentist will seal the access hole with a temporary filling. This filling will protect the tooth until you can get a permanent restoration. Depending on your situation, the dentist may recommend a dental crown or another type of restoration to save the tooth and restore its function.

Step 8: Follow-Up Appointment 

After the procedure, you’ll need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist. They’ll examine the tooth and take X-rays to ensure that the infection is gone and the tooth is healing properly. Once the dentist determines that the tooth is healthy, they’ll remove the temporary filling and place a permanent restoration.


Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure that can save a severely damaged or infected tooth. By understanding the steps involved in the process, you can alleviate any fears or anxieties you may have and feel more confident about getting the treatment you need. 

If you’re experiencing tooth pain or other symptoms, don’t hesitate to see your dentist and discuss your options. Remember, getting a root canal could be the best way to save your tooth and preserve your beautiful smile.

Are you looking for a Chelmsford dental office? Trust Chelmsford Dental Specialists Group. Since 1983, Michael Sargent, DDS, has been well-known as a leading family dentist in Central Massachusetts. We are dedicated and committed to helping patients improve and maintain their oral health. Request an appointment!