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 of dental implants or bridges.

Disease of the dental pulp can be caused by trauma from repeated dental procedures to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, or traumatic injuries. Symptoms of the disease can be identified as lingering pain with changing temperatures, soreness to biting that gets progressively worse, swelling and redness of the gum, or a draining “gum boil” beside the tooth.

If you experience any of these symptoms, an examination by one of our endodontic specialists is indicated to determine the type of therapy needed.  A non-surgical endodontic therapy may be indicated to eliminate the diseased pulp. We use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. After the injured pulp is removed through a small opening in the crown of the tooth, the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed with a biocompatible material. Root canal therapy may be completed in one or more visits depending on the disease status.  If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic therapy or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We expect a 90-95% success rate in teeth that do not have compromising factors.  Unless you have been prescribed or administered an anti-anxiety medication, you will be able to drive home or back to work after your treatment.  In most instances, you will remain numb for at least an hour or more.


What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed with a permanent root filling, and the top of the tooth has been restored with a temporary seal, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office 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 necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment.  Please refer to our Home Care Instructions after Endodontic Therapy for detailed guidance and instructions.  An endodontist from Northwest Endodontic Specialists, PC is always on call and is available to resolve unanticipated difficulties.