• Why do I need a root canal?

    Endodontics, or root canal treatment, is necessary when the tooth pulp becomes infected or inflamed. The inflammation or infection can have several causes: deep decay, trauma, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or a crack in the tooth. Some of the indications of damage to the pulp include pain, discoloration of the tooth, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, and swelling or tenderness in the gums near the tooth. Occasionally root canal treatment is necessary even when there are no symptoms.

  • How does root canal treatment save a tooth?

    The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth and then fills the root canal space to prevent the penetration of bacteria. After completion of the root canal the patient typically needs to return to his/her general dentist to have a crown or other suitable restoration (filling) placed. This should return the tooth to full function and normal chewing.

  • Will I have pain during and after the procedure?

    Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve pain caused by pulpal infection or inflammation. With current techniques and anesthetics, most patients experience no pain during the procedure. If there was pain or infection before the procedure the tooth may feel sensitive for a few days after treatment as the healing process occurs. Most of the time this discomfort can be controlled with either over-the-counter medications.

  • How long does the treatment take?

    The answer to this question depends on the technical difficulty in treating the root canal space. In general, root canal treatment takes between 45 and 90 minutes.