Are Root Canals Safe?

One of the most common kinds of dental surgery comes in the form of a root canal. Root canals may sound dangerous, but truth be told, this is a relatively straightforward form of oral surgery, which is why many general dentists perform the root canal. A root canal is completely safe, although there are times when the root system within a tooth may prove challenging to clean out and navigate. If you have been told you need to have a root canal, there isn’t anything to worry about. 

However, to help give you peace of mind, here is what you need to know about a root canal and just how safe it is for you to undergo the procedure.

Informed You Need a Root Canal

You may have been experiencing some kind of pain around your tooth. This can make eating food or even drinking liquids difficult. When you go in to see your dentist, they will likely be able to tell you to need a root canal right away, but they will also take X-rays to see what’s going on with the tooth in question.

Once it is determined you need a root canal, your general dentist will either schedule you with themselves, or they may send you to a specialist. By going over the X-ray, they will better understand the root system of your tooth and just how elaborate the canal system may be. Whomever you go to see, the procedure will be relatively straightforward.

Prepping For Your Root Canal

Your day will begin just like it will most other days at the dentist’s office. You will be given local anesthesia to numb the pain from the procedure. A root canal is necessary when the nerve endings within the tooth have died or are dying. In order to stop the pain you are experiencing, these nerve endings, blood vessels, and other issues will need to be removed. Without removing everything from within the tooth, the dead organic material will fester and rot. This can lead to the surrounding structures breaking down and, if not treated, may even cause issues to surrounding teeth. The procedure can begin shortly after the numbing agent has been applied.

Often, when someone is told they need a root canal and they begin searching for “are root canals safe” on Google, they often wonder whether it will be painful. This is not a painful procedure, and following the root canal, you will typically have only minor soreness.

The Procedure

Once you are ready for the procedure, a small hole will be drilled into your tooth. This hole will grant access to the interior of the tooth, where dead pulp will be removed. The location of the access hole will depend on the tooth.

Your dentist will then go in and begin removing the dead or infected pulp. Before being told you needed a root canal, your dentist will have taken X-rays of the tooth and the root system. The X-ray will help guide the dentist in knowing the complexity of the root canal system. Some roots are relatively straightforward, while others have a series of canals that need to be cleaned out.

After the tooth has been cleaned out and all the dead organic material has been removed, the dentist may inject a whitening agent. This is most common for front teeth, although if you want, the whitening agent may be injected into back teeth as well. This will help prevent the tooth from turning a darker color in the years to come (although there are times when the whitening agent may need to be applied again after several years).

The tooth will be packed and filled with the whitening agent in place, similar to a filling following a cavity.


There are some instances where some pain may return to your tooth. There are times when not all of the pulp is removed during the root canal. This can happen when the canals are especially elaborate. Should pain return, it is important to make a follow-up appointment with your dentist. They may determine it is necessary to go back in and remove any lingering tissue that was not removed the first time. This isn’t a frequent occurrence, but secondary root canals have been known to happen from time to time. Any follow-up root canal will be similar to the first.

Seeing a Specialist

Your general dentist did receive training to perform a root canal. Many dentists feel completely comfortable doing this procedure. However, you may decide to look around for a specialist. While a general dentist does have the training to perform a root canal, it is not something they practice daily. If the root canal system is especially elaborate, they may recommend you see a specialist, regardless of their experience. 

When this is the case, you will want to schedule an appointment with an endodontist. This is a dentist that specializes in all-things root canals. They perform root canals every day, which means they know exactly what to look for. If you had a primary root canal performed and the pain has returned, you might want to skip returning to the general dentist and instead see an endodontist.

Make An Appointment With Southern Endodontic Specialists Today

If you have been told you need a root canal, your best option is to schedule an appointment with a root canal specialist. At Southern Endodontic Specialists, you have access to professionals specializing in this form of dental procedure. This will reduce the chance of any secondary root canals. So, whether you want a second opinion or your general dentist has recommended you go out and see a specialist, you can schedule an appointment with the staff at Southern Endodontic Specialists directly through the website. Or, if you have questions and want to talk to the staff, you can contact the staff at your earliest convenience.