Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern root canal treatment is not painful. It is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one appointment, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.
The endodontist will perform a few simple tests on your tooth to confirm the recommended treatment. If root canal treatment is needed, you will be given a local anesthetic in order to keep you comfortable during the procedure. A dental dam, which is a small protective shield, will be placed over your tooth to isolate it and keep it dry.
The endodontist will locate the root canals inside your tooth, remove the inflamed or infected pulp from the canals, and carefully disinfect and shape them. The canals are then filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from re-entering the root canal system. Following the treatment, you may feel some tenderness in the tooth or in your jaw. Your endodontist may recommend over-the-counter pain medication for these temporary symptoms.
You will need to contact your dentist within two weeks after your completed root canal treatment to have your tooth restored with a crown or filling—this step is extremely important in ensuring the success of your root canal treatment.
After your tooth has been restored, continue to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist or endodontist may X-ray the tooth periodically to ensure that any damaged areas around the tooth have healed. A tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth.