Root Canal Therapy

About Root Canals

The root canals in your mouth are tiny passageways. These small arteries branch off from the top of the tooth, descending downward, until they reach the root’s tip.

Each tooth has between one and four canals.

Infections involving a tooth that spread to the pulp, your tooth’s inner chamber, contain blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. Should the infection escalate, it can begin affecting the roots. Traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp and that will lead to like problems.

A diseased inner tooth is accompanied by a host of issues including pain and sensitivity, which alert you to a problem. However, If the infection spreads, small pockets of pus can develop. That could lead to an abscess.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a treatment that has a very high success rate. It involves removing the infected tissue, which stops the spread of infection and restores the healthy portion of the tooth. The therapy is designed to save the tooth. Prior to the procedure, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.


One to three visits are required. A small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber at the first visit. All the diseased tissue is the first thing that is removed. Then the inner chamber is cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals are reshaped.

To prevent infection, the cleansed chamber and the canals are filled with an elastic material and infection preventing medication. The drilled hole is temporarily filled until the crown is placed on the tooth, creating a permanent seal.

Those patients who have root canal therapy generally have little or no discomfort or pain. A restored tooth can last almost as long as its healthy original.

What to Do Following a Root Canal (Endodontic) Procedure

A root canal procedure requires us to work with the tooth nerve which lies deep inside to the roots of your teeth. After leaving our office, please follow the instructions of care below to help reduce problems and discomfort.

  • For pain management, an effective pain regimen is to take Ibuprofen (Advil) 400mg + Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500mg together every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Do not exceed 2400mg Ibuprofen or 3000mg Acetaminophen daily.

  • Brush and floss as normal. If the opening in your tooth was restored with a temporary filling material, it is not unusual for some material to wear off in between appointments, However if you feel the entire filling has come out, contact our office.

  • Contact us if you develop any of the following:

    • visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth

    • allergic reaction to medication (rash, hives, or itching)

    • a return of original symptoms

    • your bite feels uneven

Following a root canal, most teeth require a core build-up and a crown for strength. It is extremely important that you complete this treatment as recommended. Over time, after a root canal is completed the tooth becomes brittle and may discolor. If not covered and protected, this treated tooth could easily break, requiring it to be removed.

Download Instructions (PDF)