Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.
Your Location is set to Change My Location
Cone Health wants to help you get well and stay well. This section provides tools and information to achieve good health and maintain your well-being.
Learn what community resources are available to help you get well and stay well.
View health and wellness news you can use from Cone Health providers on
View Advanced Search OptionsView All Doctors
View All Locations
Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Root Canal Surgery
COVID-19 Info: Vaccines | Testing | Visitor Guidelines | Stats | More
IMPORTANT NOTICE: COVID-19 testing appointments are not available at Cone Health emergency departments or urgent care locations. Click here for testing options.
A root canal is done when decay will likely damage or has already killed a tooth. During a root canal, a dentist or endodontist removes the pulp from the center of a tooth and fills the pulp cavity. This can prevent a painful infection in the pulp that may spread to other teeth. A root canal can also treat an infection that has developed into an abscessed tooth. This procedure can relieve toothache, stop infection, and promote healing.
After a root canal, your lips and gums may be numb for a few hours until the anesthetic wears off. Later you may have some pain. You can treat it with pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a stronger prescription painkiller. The pain usually lasts only a day or two.
If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You'll need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Avoid chewing with the tooth until the crown or filling is in place and the tooth feels better.
A root canal is needed when tooth decay is likely to cause permanent damage to the pulp or has already done so.
A root canal removes the pulp inside the tooth and replaces it with filling material. It can work well to treat or prevent an infection.
When someone has an infected tooth, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. Because of this, some people may be at more risk when having dental procedures such as a root canal. People at risk include those who have artificial heart valves or were born with heart defects. These people may need to take antibiotics before and after a root canal.
Current as of:
June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineArden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as of: June 30, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Subscribe to our Wellness Matters e-newsletter, a monthly snapshot of the some of great wellness content from Cone Health providers.