Endodontics

What is an Endodontic Treatment?

Has your dentist or endodontist told you that you need root canal treatment? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. This page explains root canal treatment in detail and how it can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.

  • How does an endodontic treatment save the tooth?

    The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

  • What is endodontic treatment?

    As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

    • Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
    • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
    • The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
    • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.


    In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:

    • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
    • A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.
    • A tooth sustains a fracture.
  • Why would I need an endodontic procedure?

    Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

  • What are the signs of needing an endodontic treatment?

    Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gum tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

  • Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

    • Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
    • For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.
    • Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
  • Step-by-step endodontic treatment

    Endodontic treatment can often be performed in one or two visits and involves the following steps:


    1. The endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist places a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.

    2. The endodontist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.

    3. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the endodontist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored.

    4. After the final visit with your endodontist, you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.

    If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the tooth. Ask your dentist or endodontist for more details about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.

  • How much will the procedure cost?

    The cost varies depending on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat; the fee is usually more. Most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment.


    Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with an implant or bridge to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration.

  • Will the tooth need specific care or additional treatment after endodontic treatment?

    You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.

    Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.

  • What causes an endodontic-treated tooth to need additional treatment?

    New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.

  • Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

    Most teeth can be treated. Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored. However, advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth.

Endodontic Retreatment Explained

With proper care, even teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime. But sometimes, a tooth that has been treated doesn’t heal properly and can become painful or diseased months or even years after treatment. If your tooth failed to heal or develops new problems, you have a second chance. An additional procedure may be able to support healing and save your tooth. If you have pain or discomfort in a previously treated tooth, talk to an endodontist about retreatment.

  • Why do I need another endodontic procedure?

    As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

    • Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure
    • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure
    • The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment
    • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth

    In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:

    • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth
    • A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection
    • A tooth sustains a fracture
  • What will happen during treatment?

    • First, the endodontist will discuss your treatment options. If you and your endodontist choose retreatment, the endodontist will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. In many cases, complex restorative materials—crown, post and core material—must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals.
    • After removing the canal filling, the endodontist can clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth using magnification and illumination, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment.
    • After cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, your endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery. This surgery involves making an incision to allow the other end of the root to be sealed.
    • After your endodontist completes retreatment, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to its full function.
  • Is treatment the best choice for me?

    Whenever possible, it is best to save your natural tooth. Retreated teeth can function well for years, even for a lifetime.


    Advances in technology are constantly changing the way root canal treatment is performed, so your endodontist may use new techniques that were not available when you had your first procedure. Your endodontist may be able to resolve your problem with retreatment.

    As with any dental or medical procedure, there are no guarantees. Your endodontist will discuss your options and the chances of success before beginning retreatment.

  • How much will the procedure cost?

    The cost varies depending on how complicated the procedure will be. The procedure will probably be more complex than your first root canal treatment, because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your endodontist may need to spend extra time searching for unusual canal anatomy. Therefore, you can generally expect retreatment to cost more than the initial endodontic treatment.


    While dental insurance may cover part or all of the cost for retreatment, some policies limit coverage to a single procedure on a tooth in a given period of time. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to retreatment to be sure of your coverage.

  • What are the alternatives to treatment?

    If nonsurgical retreatment is not an option, then endodontic surgery should be considered. This surgery involves making an incision to allow access to the tip of the root. Endodontic surgery may also be recommended in conjunction with retreatment or as an alternative. Your endodontist will discuss your options and recommend appropriate treatment.

  • What are the alternatives to endodontic treatment and/or endodontic surgery?

    The only other alternative is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these options require extensive surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, they can be far more costly and time consuming than retreatment and restoration of the natural tooth.

    No matter how effective tooth replacements are—nothing is as good as your own natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth. The payoff for choosing retreatment could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for many years to come.

Rockwood Dental Group

For over 25 years, we have served Mississauga, Toronto and Brampton residents with general, cosmetic, restorative, implant and sedation dentistry. This year we are growing yet again to enhance your dental experience and provide additional dental services by our in-house periodontist and dental surgeon.

Get the Latest Updates

Information

4141 Dixie Road, Unit #22B    

Mississauga, ON Canada

L4W 1V5

 905-624-8917 

  info@rockwooddental.com

Hours

Monday 09:00 AM - 07:00 PM

Tuesday 07:30 AM - 05:00 PM

Wednesday 11:00 AM - 07:00 PM

Thursday 07:30 AM - 05:00 PM

Friday 07:30 AM - 04:00 PM

Saturday 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM

Social

Send to a friend

Send the url of this page to a friend of yours

Copyright Rockwood Dental Group 2018 - Legal
Created by

Legal notice