Root Canal

What is it?

A root canal or better known as “endodontic therapy” deals with treatment of disorders of the pulp. The pulp consists of blood vessels, nerves and lymph vessels which supply nourishment to the tooth.

Why do I need it?

A tooth may require a root canal if:

  1. Decay invades the pulp.
  2. Trauma to the tooth.
  3. Tooth is cracked.
  4. Periodontal (gum) causes.
  5. Elective treatment under certain circumstances.

A patient may present in acute pain from an abscess or may have no symptoms and be diagnosed through an x-ray indicating a chronic infection.

What does it involve?

  1. The root canal procedure involves accessing the pulp chamber.
  2. Cleaning and shaping the root canals.
  3. Filling the canals with a material called “Gutta Percha”.
  4. Restoring the tooth.

How successful is it?

Root canal therapy is successful in 95% of cases. A root canal allows a tooth that would otherwise be extracted to be saved.

What happens after the root canal?

Following endodontic therapy a crown may be recommended to reduce the chance of tooth fracture. Crowns are usually advised for posterior teeth following endodontic therapy. Anterior teeth may discolor and in some cases a crown may be recommended or the discoloration can be addressed through non-vital tooth whitening.


Q. What is the success rate?
 95% of root canal therapies are successful.

Q.  What might cause a root canal to be unsuccessful?
A root canal may fail if:

  1. A patient experiences recurrent pain with no obvious cause.
  2. Missed canals.
  3. Root or tooth fracture.
  4. Unknown reason.

Q. Will I need a crown after my root canal?
A. It is recommended that posterior teeth receiving endodontic therapy have a crown to prevent tooth fracture. Anterior teeth may require a crown depending on the amount of remaining tooth structure.

Q. Will it hurt?
A. During the procedure, every effort is made to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible. Following the procedure mild discomfort may be experienced. We recommend warm salt water rinses in combination with ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed.

Q. How many appointments does it take?
A. It is not unusual for a root canal to be completed over two separate appointments if there is infection present. Usually, a straight forward root canal can be completed in one appointment.