Endodontic FAQ

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is a recognized speciality by the American Dental Association.  Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth (Pulp). When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of deep decay, repeated dental procedures, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems, can severely damage the pulp. When that happens, an endodontist removes the diseased pulp to save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally. 

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Many root canal procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothache 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 sore or tender, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.  This discomfort can be relieved  with over- the-counter analgesics such as Advil or Tylenol.  However, if you have severe pain or pressure, or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.

Should I be worried about x-rays?

No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic 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. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to general dentist via e-mail or CD.

What about infection?

Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a treatment report will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact your general dentist for a permanent restoration within a week or two of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. We will send you a postcard in 6 months for a follow-up examination and digital image to monitor your healing.

What new technologies are being used?

Operating Microscopes:

In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes during your treatment. The magnification and illumination provided by the operating microscopes are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document and communicate the doctor’s findings with your general dentist.

Apex Locators

These are instruments that can electronically help determine where the end, or terminus, of the root is located, ensuring all of the infected pulp tissues are removed. This is very critical in successful endodontic therapy.


These devices help in locating canals, removing obstructions from canals and in cleaning canals.

Nickel-titanium instruments

These instruments have helped to revolutionize endodontics.  They have greater flexibility than the standard stainless steel instruments, allowing more effficient cleaning and shaping of the canals. These instruments are able to follow the different curves that are encountered.  This will allow for complete removal of bacteria and any debris that accumulates inside the canals.

Electric motors and handpieces

These instruments are used in conjunction with the nickel-titanium files. These motors allow to easily manage the speed and torque, resulting in more control in cleaning root canals.