Some important you need to know about your procedure and what to expect from your Root Canal Therapy.

What is a root canal?

A Root Canal is the removal of the inflamed, dying, or dead nerve tissue in the root of a tooth. A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed. This easy yet complex treatment can save your natural tooth and prevent the need for dental implants, bridges, or dentures. At the center of your tooth is the pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves that helps to build the surrounding tooth when you are a child. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, micro fractures, chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of damage can be identified as visible injury to the tooth, swelling, pain to hot and or cold, pain on biting or tapping and spontaneous facial pain.

How is a root canal performed?

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend a root canal to eliminate the diseased pulp. The injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. It involves the cleaning, shaping and tapering of the inside of the root, followed by the 3-dimensional sealing of the root with a plastic filling material (gutta percha). This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or two visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 92 to 95% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or if a complication occurs during or after the treatment. Local anesthesia is used to eliminate discomfort. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you should be comfortable returning to your normal routine or work schedule.

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a report of your treatment will be sent to your regular dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up appointment within two weeks of the root canal being completed at our office. Your regular dentist will decide with you as to what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience severe complications after routine endodontic treatment, but If a problem does occur we are available by calling the office or our answering service. Some soreness, a low grade aching and a medicine taste between visits is normal. If you experience severe pain and or significant swelling you should contact the office.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.


Root canal work will be performed using local anesthesia. There are usually no restrictions after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work. Most patients go back to work and go about their business as after a routine visit to their general dentist.

Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.

Please eat a normal breakfast
or lunch as applicable.

If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic pre-medication because of mitral valve prolapse (MVP), heart murmur, hip, knee, cardiac or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.

If you normally take ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), it does help reduce inflammation when taken before a visit. Feel free to take 1 or 2 tablets of either medication 2-4 hours before endodontic therapy.


Once Endodontic treatment has been completed, the root canal system has been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface of your tooth has been sealed with a temporary restoration. A follow-up restoration must be placed to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. Please telephone your general dentist for an appointment. A complete report of treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. Included in your treatment is any additional follow-up visits that may be needed to evaluate the progress of healing.


Your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. Usually root canal therapy can be started at this first visit. However, a complex medical history or treatment plan will require an evaluation and a second appointment to provide treatment on another day.

Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your consultation:

* Your root canal referral slip and any X-rays if applicable
* A list of medications you are presently taking
* If you have medical or dental insurance, bring the necessary completed forms. This will save time and allow us to help you process any claims.

IMPORTANT: All patients under the age of 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the first visit.


Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender or sore for several days as a result of the manipulation during your treatment and the previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm.

Do not chew food on the affected side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration provided by your restorative dentist. Please continue to brush and floss as usual unless directed or told otherwise at your visit.


If your dentist or physician has taken x-rays, you may request that they forward them to our office. If there is not enough time, please pick them up and bring them to our office. If additional films are necessary, they can be taken at our facility. While x-rays provided by your general dentist may be sufficient to diagnose your condition new x-rays may be needed to properly treat your tooth.


With the appropriate care, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. Yet, a tooth that has received treatment may on occasion fail to heal or pain might continue. Rarely pain may reoccur months or years after treatment. If so, Endodontic Re-treatment may be needed.

Improper healing may be caused by:

* Curved or narrow canals that were unable to be treated properly during the initial treatment.
* Complicated or accessory canals that went undetected during the initial treatment.
* The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
* The crown or restoration did not prevent saliva or bacteria from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
* Or simply that the body was unable to heal the abscess or infection properly

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.
* A new crack in the crown or root can expose the tooth to a new infection.

Once re-treatment has been selected as a solution to your problem, the doctor will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal system. The doctors will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the doctors will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.

At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality and facilitate proper healing.