Endotontics FAQ

Endodontics FAQ

  1. When do I need a Root Canal?

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers
  • Discomfort when chewing or biting
  • Dull ache or severe pain
  • Discomfort that wakes you up at night
  • Your dentist has diagnosed the need for endodontic treatment either by clinical exam or x-ray

If you answered yes to any of the above, you might very well need a root canal. Please call and schedule for an evaluation.

Be aware not all teeth that are in need of root canal therapy will cause pain. It is possible to be pain-free and still need a root canal. 

  1. What will happen at my appointment?

We will examine the x-ray and the tooth, then administer a local anesthetic. After the tooth is numbed, a small protective sheet, called a dental rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth. An opening will be made in the crown of the tooth and small instruments will be used to clean the canals and to shape the canal spaces for filling. Once the canals have been adequately cleaned and shaped, the canals will then be filled with a polyester synthetic root canal filling and sealer. A temporary filling is then placed to close the opening. Your dentist will remove the temporary filling before the tooth is restored. Learn more.

  1. Will it hurt during the procedure?

With modern techniques and varied local anesthetic solutions it is rare to have any sensation in the tooth during treatment. For the first few days after treatment, It is normal for your tooth to be sensitive to biting. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications in order to control normal post-treatment discomfort.

  1. Will it hurt afterward?

In most cases the discomfort will subside dramatically within the first 24-48 hours. Any sensitivity to cold, hot or even breathing air “in” will be gone after your visit. Nevertheless, you may experience mild discomfort to pressure that could last for several days after treatment. Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory analgesics such as ibuprofen (aka Advil, Motrin), naproxen (aka Aleve) or aspirin (aka Excedrin) usually relieves this discomfort. Tylenol has been proven not to be as effective as ibuprofen and related medicines , because it does not have the anti-inflammatory component.

The most common predictor of post-treatment pain is pre-treatment pain. If the tooth is already hurting the root canal procedure will remove the cause and allow healing to begin. During the first 72 – 96 h we will prescribe an analgesic regimen that should allow you to begin healing pain-free.

The most common complaint is tenderness to touch, bite, tapping or chewing on the tooth. It is always best to chew on the other side until a permanent restoration replaces the temporary restoration.

  1. Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Versus Extraction

The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extraction may lead to other dental problems. For instance, drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ discomfort, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment in order to restore the missing tooth. No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is a good as your natural tooth.

  1. What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.

  1. Why is root canal treatment needed?

If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess (gumboil). An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If root canal treatment is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.

  1. Will the tooth be safe after treatment?

Yes. However, as a dead tooth is more brittle, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth.

  1. What will my tooth look like after treatment?

In the past, a root-filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance.

  1. How is root canal treatment done?

The purpose of the treatment is to remove the bacteria or dying nerves from inside the tooth and to disinfect the root canals. This is achieved by making a small hole through the tooth into the pulp chamber, locating and measuring the root canals, then cleaning and widening them using fine instruments called files.

Once clean, the canals are filled to seal them off from re-infection. In most cases abscesses will start to heal at this point . Changes on the x-ray are not usually seen however for up to six to eight months following treatment.