Frequently Asked Questions
Endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal, treats the inside of the tooth.  Within the tooth, beneath the white enamel and dentin, is a tissue called the pulp.  This pulp houses blood vessels and nerves that nourish the tooth when it is developing.  Endodontic treatment is beneficial by saving teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted.  There is no real substitute for your own tooth.

At endodontic associates you will receive care from specialists trained in endodontic conditions.  Techniques include microscopic root canal treatment and the latest technology.

Endodontic therapy becomes necessary when the pulp becomes diseased.  This can happen because of decay, repeated dental procedures, injury, or a crack in your tooth.  Signs that you made need a root canal can include sensitivity to cold, hot and biting pressure; swelling and drainage of the area; and tenderness to touching the area.  There can, however, be no symptoms at all.

With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are completely comfortable during the procedure.  You will remain awake during the procedure and will receive a local anesthetics at the site of the tooth in question.  

The tooth can feel sensitive for the first few days after the procedure.  This discomfort can be relieved with over-the counter-medications.
Please see our post-operative sheet for further information. 

A root canal is usually all that is needed to save teeth from extraction. However, sometimes this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient enough to heal the tooth, so your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. This is one of the most common surgeries done to save damaged teeth. 

An incision made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. Then damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. Over a period of months, the bone will naturally heal itself around the root, restoring full function. 

While the incision heals, there may be some slight swelling or discomfort. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please call our office. 

Sometimes, a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. In some cases, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, root canal retreatment may be needed. 

Improper healing may be caused by:
  • A crown or restoration that was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure. 
  • A crown or restoration that did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth. 
  • Curved or narrow canals that were not treated during the initial treatment. 
  • Complicated canals that went undetected during the initial treatment. 
  • In some cases, new problems can influence a tooth that was successfully treated:
  • New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection. 
  • A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection. 

Retreatment includes reopening your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. The Endodontist will then clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the tooth. Once cleaned, the canals will be sealed and a temporary filling will be placed in the tooth. Following treatment, you will need to return to your regular dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.

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