Clairemont Endodontics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Root Canal Treatment

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Many patients have questions about their endodontic care and root canals. We encourage and welcome your questions and have provided a selection of some common questions we hear. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us for more information.

Root Canal Treatment

Yes. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontics treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low-dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. 

You may experience some sensitivity in your tooth for the next couple of days following your root canal treatment. This can usually be treated with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen. Most people are able to return to work and other regular activities the day after treatment. To avoid recontamination if your tooth has not yet been sealed, try to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the affected tooth is. Once your tooth has been sealed, it will be restored to full function. If you are still experiencing sensitivity and discomfort after a few days have passed, please call our office. 

Indications for endodontic (root canal) treatment include:

  • prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
  • discoloration of the tooth
  • pain on biting
  • swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums
  • the appearance of an abscess on an x-ray

Unfortunately, sometimes there are no signs and symptoms. We will discuss the necessity of a root canal with you at our office since these cases vary a great deal from person to person.

Tooth pain is the main reason patients often seek treatment; therefore, many patients may experience discomfort prior to having endodontic treatment. Fortunately, modern anesthetics can make the procedure pain-free in most cases.

Seeking treatment early makes the procedure more comfortable so don't wait. When caught early, treatment should feel no different than having a regular filling. For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting and tenderness in the gums and jaw, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Our doctors will typically prescribe high-dose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, to minimize post-operative sensitivity. Occasionally, stronger pain medications and/or antibiotics are also prescribed as needed.

The bad reputation of root canal treatment is mostly undeserved. The truth is that they are an important procedure that can make the difference between saving your tooth and losing it. Additionally, root canal treatment will treat any underlying infection to keep it from spreading and possibly affecting other teeth and causing more pain.

Modern dental techniques allow us to treat root canals much more comfortably and effectively than before. This quick procedure can save you time, pain, and money that you might otherwise have to spend on dentures, partials, and dental implants. 

The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp (nerve) from the inside of the tooth, carefully cleans and shapes the root canal, and then seals the prepared space. Most procedures are now performed in a single appointment ranging from 60-90 minutes (depending on the complexity of the case). However, some teeth may require additional appointments, particularly if the tooth is found to be inflamed or infected.

Once treatment is completed, you will be instructed to return to your dentist for a permanent crown or filling. This permanent restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the rest of your mouth, protects the tooth, and restores it to function.

An endodontist is a dentist with two years of additional specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp (nerve) and surrounding structures as well as oral and facial pain.

General dentists often perform endodontic treatment in their offices and refer patients to a specialist only when the case is difficult or complex. We perform these procedures all day every day, so we’re usually able to do them faster and much more comfortably than a general dentist can.

A root canal infection will never go away on its own. An untreated root canal infection can severely comprise that tooth and can even lead to a systemic infection, especially in those people with weakened immune systems. Without treatment, there is a good chance that you may lose that tooth or cause other dental complications.

If root canal treatment is recommended for you and you have fear or anxiety about the procedure, please talk to us. Modern root canal treatment is relatively painless and will save you a great deal of dental pain and other complications.


A Root canal infection can cause:


- Pain

- Spread away from the tooth

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