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Millions of people each year undergo a root canal, but what exactly goes into your tooth once the tooth has been cleaned out?

Dr. Lavin and his care team would like to take a moment to help you understand what materials will be used during your endodontic procedure.

Once the infected pulp of your tooth has been removed along with the nerves contained in it, your tooth canals will be disinfected with an antiseptic and antibacterial solution. Dr. Lavin will then shape your canals with tiny instruments to enable them to receive the obturating material and sealer. Then, he will wash and clean the canal again to remove any debris.

Your canal is now ready to be filled and sealed.

What’s in a filling?

The root canal filling material is made of a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a thermoplastic material (“thermo” meaning “heat” and “plastic” meaning “to shape”). This material is heated and then compressed into and against the walls of the root canal to seal them. The gutta-percha fills the canal space and is then sealed with an adhesive cement. Sealing the canals with this adhesive will prevent them from becoming re-infected with bacteria.

Once the canal is sealed, Dr. Lavin will place a restoration in your tooth to seal the access hole that was made to treat the canal. The restoration may be either permanent or temporary depending on the situation. An antibiotic may be prescribed post-procedure to treat an infection if indicated. After-effects are minimal but generally last a few days to one week.

To learn more about what to expect during your endodontic procedure, please review our What to Expect section.

If your dentist determines you need a root canal, we’d love to discuss your options and get your mouth back to feeling pain-free.