If your tooth is in pain, we know you must have many questions… What exactly is going on in my mouth? What is a root canal and why is it done? How soon until I can get back to work? Find out the answers to these and many other questions here.

What is an Endodontist?
An Endodontist is a dentist who has received two years of advanced training in Endodontic procedures and has limited their practice to performing only Endodontic procedures. Dentists will regularly refer patients needing Endodontic procedures to an Endodontist because of their experience in dealing with both routine and difficult Endodontic procedures. Endodontists are also experts in diagnosing the cause of oral and facial pain.
What is Endodontic treatment?

“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth”. Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.

To understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root.

The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature, it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

Why would I need an Endodontic procedure?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Signs of pulp damage include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.

How does Endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The Endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Most patients report that they are comfortable during Endodontic treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive and you may experience slight discomfort. However, we will give you post-op instructions regarding your root canal and which medications will relieve this pain. If you experience severe pain or pain that lasts longer than a few days, contact our office.
Will my tooth need special care afterwards?
After the procedure you need to avoid chewing or biting with the treated tooth until you have seen your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth. Until this is done, the unrestored tooth will be susceptible to fracture. Once the tooth has been restored, you need only practice proper oral hygiene.
How many appointments do I need for my root canal?
Often, Endodontic treatment can be completed in one appointment, but some cases may require two appointments. This, however, cannot be determined until after a thorough examination is complete. If a second appointment is needed, we will schedule one for you. Please be advised that the cost quoted for your root canal is the same regardless of the number of appointments necessary.
What is the success rate of Endodontic treatment?
Endodontic treatment has a very high success rate. Most root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime. Millions of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through Endodontic treatment, Endodontists and dentists worldwide enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.
Are there alternatives to Endodontic treatment?

The only alternative is an extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, they can be far more costly and time-consuming than treatment and restoration of the natural tooth. 

No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are -- and they can be very effective -- nothing is as good as a natural tooth. 

Can I drive myself home?
After most Endodontic treatments, you should expect to be able to drive yourself home. If previous arrangements have been made for sedation, then assistance for transportation is necessary.
When can I return to my normal activities?
Each case is different, but many patients return to work the same day. Your Endodontist will be happy to discuss your expected recovery time with you.
How much does a retreatment procedure cost?

The cost varies depending on how complicated the procedure will be. The procedure will probably be more complex than your first root canal treatment, because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your Endodontist may need to spend extra time searching for unusual canal anatomy. Therefore, you can generally expect retreatment to cost more than the initial Endodontic treatment.

While dental insurance may cover part or all of the cost for retreatment, some policies limit coverage to a single procedure on a tooth in a given period of time. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to treatment to be sure of your coverage.

Does insurance cover Endodontic surgery?

Each insurance plan is different. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to treatment.

What if my previously root canal treated tooth is causing a new infection?
Sometimes old root canals may require a retreatment procedure, in which the old root canal filling material is removed, the tooth is thoroughly disinfected and then new root canal filling material is placed. Another alternative to a previous root canal procedure that has developed an infection is Endodontic microsurgery. For some patients considering retreatment, Endodontic microsurgery is an option. This surgery involves making an incision near the end of the root to allow the tip of the root to be sealed. Endodontic microsurgery may be recommended in conjunction with retreatment or as an alternative. Your Endodontist will discuss your options and recommend appropriate treatment.