Root Canal

The Ultimate Guide to Root Canal

Last fact-checked: 5 February 2020

Root canal procedures seem to strike fear into most people but in reality, they are no more uncomfortable than a filling—it’s just that they take longer to do—and are, therefore, a lot more expensive.

While there is ongoing research that indicates stem cell therapy may negate the need for a root canal procedure in the future; until then we will all have to grin and bear it if we want to save an infected tooth.

What Is a Root Canal?

When a tooth becomes badly decayed, the cavity at the center of the tooth, or root canal, may become damaged or infected. The soft tissue inside the root canal contains the nerve tissue and pulp and once this becomes infected an abscess may form at the roots of the tooth. This is not only painful, causing swelling in the localized area around the tooth which may spread to other areas of the face and neck, but may also cause bone loss in the jaw.

A root canal procedure is performed by a specialist dentist (an endodontist). To save an infected tooth the pulp and nerve are removed from the tooth and the empty cavity cleaned thoroughly and filled.

Is a Root Canal Procedure Suitable for Dental Tourists?

Root canal treatments are suitable for dental tourists, but the one thing to bear in mind is that the process from beginning to end may take a few days – so you will have to make sure you are in the country long enough to complete the procedure. Most dentists will also require that if you have an infection that you will already have started a course of antibiotics at home so they can begin working on the root canal immediately.

If you are a regular traveler to a destination (for example, if you travel on business), then the process will be easier, and if you live in the southern United States then it may not be too much of a stretch to travel over the Border to a dentist in Mexico for root canal treatment.

What Is the Procedure for a Root Canal?

The root canal procedure normally requires two or three visits to the dentist, depending on whether an infection is present and whether a crown is required to strengthen the tooth.

During the first visit:

1: the dentist will assess the tooth and x-rays will be taken to determine whether there is an infection and to get a picture of the root canals;

2: the tooth will be prepared. Local anaesthesia is used to numb the area around the tooth and a rubber dam is placed over the tooth to keep the area dry during the procedure;

3:  access is drilled into the tooth and the pulp, bacteria and other debris removed. The chamber is cleaned thoroughly and antibiotic medication may be placed inside;

4: the tooth is filled and sealed. Some dentists opt to do a temporary filling at this stage, preferring the patient to come back after a week so the permanent filling can be put in place if there are no signs of infection.

During the second visit:

1: the dentist will assess the tooth and replace the temporary filling with a permanent one if there are no signs of infection, or, if need be will install a crown over the treated tooth.  

What Is the Cost of Root Canals for Dental Tourists?

You can save a substantial amount on root canals as a dental tourist. Look at these examples.

What About the Quality of Dental Care? Is It Reliable?

There are many good-quality dentists in the world offering services to international patients that are on a par (and in many cases better) with the dental services they are used to at home.

Many of the popular dental tourism hubs, such as Thailand in Asia and Mexico in the Americas, have been established for some time. They fill a gap for many people who either cannot or do not want to pay the high prices in their home country. There is a symbiotic relationship between dental tourists and dental providers, and it is certainly true that should provider standards not be of good quality then dental patients will simply stop coming. It is reassuring for international patients, therefore, that if the clinic has been around for a while that they can probably assume it is trustworthy.

This is one of a number of factors global patients can look at in order to decide if a particular dentist or clinic is reliable. We always recommend that it is worth doing some background checks of your own, but just to make things easier, when you book with Dental Departures you can be sure that we have already covered some of these.

Dentist qualifications, professional memberships, and legal/criminal records are some of the checks we make. Alongside real patient reviews and onsite visits – if we’re not happy about any aspect of the clinic’s services, you won’t find them on our website.

Dental Departures also offers additional services to make your dental trip run smoothly, including dental insurance and financial products to fund your dental trip. You can also contact our Customer Care Team, who are extremely knowledgeable about local hotels, as well as our clinics and the procedures they offer.

What's the Next Step?

If you’re looking for dental tourism locations for root canals, we at Dental Departures can help with our extensive network of dentists spread across 35 countries globally. Check out our website, compare prices and book right here online–or see below for more ways to get in touch.


What is a Root Canal? American Association of Endodontists. 17 November 2018." target="_blank

Burhenne, Mark. Know Before You Go: Root Canals. Ask the Dentist. 14 July 2018.