Root Canal Treatment


Endodontic or “root canal” treatment is one of the most common dental procedures performed.  Root canal treatment seeks to save your natural teeth and to prevent the need for more invasive replacement procedures such as single tooth implants.

At the center of your tooth is the dental pulp.  The dental pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that help to build the surrounding tooth.  Inflammation or infection of the dental pulp can be caused by traumatic injury, deep decay, cracks, fractures, or repeated dental procedures.  Symptoms of an infection can be identified as visible damage of the tooth, swelling of the face, a sudden change in sensitivity to temperature, or pain and swelling in the tooth and gums.

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment to eliminate the inflamed or infected dental pulp.  During root canal treatment, the dental pulp is carefully removed, and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and sealed to prevent ongoing infection. 

Root canal treatment involves an effective dose of local anesthesia as well as placement of a rubber dam to isolate the tooth undergoing treatment.  Use of a rubber dam during root canal treatment is the standard of care.  Once the tooth has been carefully isolated, a small hole is made in the crown of the tooth, the outer portion that we see above our gum tissue, to provide access to the dental pulp.  The unhealthy dental pulp tissue is removed with the use of various endodontic instruments and irrigants, sometimes including the GentleWave® Procedure.  The root canal(s) is/are cleaned and shaped.  To prevent the penetration of bacteria the root canal(s) is/are filled with an inert filling material.  Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases.  If your tooth is not amenable to root canal treatment or the prognosis is less than favorable, you will be informed at the time of your consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.

After completion of your root canal treatment, you may be instructed to return to your referring dentist’s office within a couple of weeks for the definitive/final restoration/filling.  This final filling is imperative to the success of all root canal treatment, as it provides the final seal of the root canal space. 

It is rare for complications to arise after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery.  However, if a problem arises, we are available on an emergency basis.  To prevent further decay, and re-infection of your tooth, continue to practice good dental hygiene and be evaluated regularly at your referring dentist’s office.

The financial costs associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the damage to the affected tooth and the type of tooth that is affected.  In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth extraction and replacement with an artificial tooth (single tooth implant).  At your consultation appointment, we will be able to discuss your various treatment options and provide a custom treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.