Root Canal: Indications and Risks

Root Canal: Indications and Risks | HealthSoul

Root canal therapy is a dental treatment in which the infected and decaying part of the tooth is repaired as well as the non-infected part is saved from getting an infection. This is done without removing the teeth. In medical language, this treatment is called endodontic therapy. Root canal literally means the passage in the root which contains pulp having blood vessels, nerves, and other cells. Most of the time people simply use the world root canal for root canal therapy. This pulp nourishes the teeth and this is the part that gets infected and is removed in this treatment. Around a million of root canal treatments take place worldwide annually. If you need one, be sure to schedule an appointment at

Indications for Root Canal

Infection of the pulp can be due to several reasons as:

All these above conditions can allow bacteria to enter the pulp. They slowly multiply and cause inflammation, destruction, and even pus formation. It can also lead to infection of the underlying jaw bone. The symptoms of pulp infection are:

  • Pain: It can be continuous or in some patients occur during chewing only
  • Sensitivity: Patients tell to their dentists that their sensitivity to low and high temperatures has been increased.
  • Tooth loosening: As the infection spreads to the ligaments, they become swollen, and gradually the tooth loosens
  • Facial swelling: This occurs due to infection of the facial bone which has transmitted from the pulp.


Root canal therapy is performed in 3 basic steps:

  • Root canal cleaning: Under local anesthesia, the dentist makes a small hole on the surface of the crown to access the deeper pulp part and removes the infected pulp tissue with the help of small files (surgical dental instrument). After that dentist now cleans the root canal by decontaminating it with an irrigation solution and provide it a proper shape with the help of files.
  • Root canal fillingNow the hollow part must be filled with something that prevents entry of infection in the future. This is done by filling it with a rubber-like material (an adhesive cement) which completely seals the root canal.
  • Addition of crowning or filling: The teeth receive their nutrition from pulp and the surrounding ligaments. As the pulp has been destroyed, the ligaments are still able to take care of its nutrition but the tooth now becomes more fragile and brittle. So, crowning and filling is done to offer protection.

Risks with Root Canal

Risk factor for this therapy are rare as:

  • Untreated canal: Sometimes the dentist is not able to find all the root canals of a tooth. If any of the root canals goes untreated, the infection can spread to other canals and the whole treatment will prove as a wasteful process.
  • Improper filling: If the filling is not complete, then the infection can reappear
  • Instrumental risk: Sometimes the surgical instruments can break in the root canal during the procedure which further compromises the treatment.

Prevention of Dental Caries

Since natural teeth are best compared to any dental therapy so it is advised that you should prevent the infection in first place by

  • Following good oral hygiene: Brush twice daily and floss at least once a day.
  • Having regular dental checkups
  • Wearing mouth guard: Sportsperson should wear a mouth guard during their performance because they have high risks of damaging their teeth

Prognosis after Root Canal

The success rate of root canal therapy is more than 95% and most of the teeth with proper care can last a lifetime.

Alternatives to Root canal

If your tooth is severely damaged such that it can’t be repaired by root canal therapy, then the best alternative is tooth extraction and the use of an implant or dental bridges. These alternatives are costlier and require additional procedures.


  • American Dental Association
  • British Orthodontic Society