Root Canal Therapy

What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.

Your teeth are tiny organs, and at the center of your teeth lives a sliver of soft tissue called the dental pulp. The dental pulp is a complex tissue that was responsible for building your teeth when you were a child. The pulp contains connective tissue, specialized cells, tiny blood vessels and tiny nerve endings. While the dental pulp contains nerve endings, it is not “a nerve.”

Injuries and infection of the dental pulp can be caused by dental caries (tooth decay), trauma to the tooth from clenching and grinding, fractures from falls and accidents, and pressure from repeated dental procedures.

Your dentist may discover and infection or injury that requires special attention during a routine check-up. Many times, the dental pulp lets you know there is something wrong. Symptoms of dental pulp injury and infection can include toothache, hypersensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, sensitivity to bite pressure. Some patients may present swelling in the gum or adjacent tissues.

If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, your dentist probably recommended consultation for diagnosis and treatment.

Root canal therapy is a non-surgical treatment that eliminates the infected or injured dental pulp from the inside of the tooth. This injured pulp is removed, and the root canal space inside the tooth is cleansed thoroughly and sealed permanently. 

We use state-of-the-art technologies and materials, these include the following in virtually all cases:

  • Digital radiography
  • 3D digital imaging
  • The surgical operating microscope
  • Electronic sensors to determine root length
  • Ultrasonic canal disinfection
  • Photoacoustic deep disinfection with the Photona Erbium-YAG laser
  • Bioceramic permanent root canal filling materials
  • We only use researched and proven biocompatible materials
  • We do not use generic materials, mercury, or any potentially harmful substances

Treatment is done under thorough local anesthesia and may be completed in one or two visits. The number of appointments needed depends on your health and on the condition of the tooth. You will be able to drive yourself home after your treatment.

If local anesthesia is insufficient or if you have a health condition that requires medical monitoring, your treatment may be done under intravenous sedation. We also offer the option of treatment under sedation for personal comfort. Intravenous sedation is provided by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist. You will need to bring a companion to drive you home if you are treated under sedation.

The success rate for root canal treatment is over 95% in most cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or if the chance of success is unfavorable, we will inform you at the time of consultation. We only treat teeth that have a reasonable chance of success.

Complications are rare. We will notify you if there is an unforeseen issue and will explain your options.

Endodontic Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of endodontic procedures, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to root canal therapy are discussed.

tooth after endodontic treatmentWhat happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your dentist. If necessary, you will need to see your dentist for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is needed. Please call us if you have any questions or if you need to see us for a follow-up visit. To prevent further decay and gum disease, continue to practice good dental hygiene after your root canal appointment.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected.  With rare exceptions, endodontic treatment is significantly less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with a dental bridge or dental implant.