FAQ 2019-08-14T10:54:19-04:00


Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving treatment of the pulp and surrounding tissues of a tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown of your tooth. The rest of the tooth, the part below the gum line, is the root. The outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin. The root canal is the inside that contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp, can damage the pulp of the tooth. Root canal therapy involves removing the inflamed and/or infected pulp tissue by a process of cleaning and shaping the root canal. After root canal therapy, the tooth will return to full function.

The root canal is found in the center in the tooth. It normally contains the pulp which consists of nerves, arteries and veins. When the canal has become infected, root canal therapy is needed to clean out the diseased tissue and then seal the inside of the tooth.

Root Canals may be needed for multiple reasons. A large cavity where the decay invades the nerve or pulp of the tooth is one reason a root canal may be needed. Another reason is a bridge or crown preparation and placement that could have caused nerve damage. Lastly, trauma to the nerve of a tooth, causing an abscess (infection) at the tip of the root, results in the need for root canal therapy.

We will strive to make your appointment as pain free as possible. If treatment is needed, we will gently numb a concentrated area of your mouth using local anesthesia. The feeling of numbness typically subsides after 2-4 hours.

Treatment is generally completed during one appointment. However, there are times that additional visits are necessary. Treatment typically last around 1 hour.

After your root canal therapy is completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your dentist. It is necessary to see your dentist 2-4 weeks after treatment to have a permanent restoration placed on your tooth to protect it. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. However, if any problem does occur, we are available to assist you.

No. Patients should take all medications as prescribed by their doctor. A thorough review of your medical history will be done to ensure that our treatment does not interfere with the medications you are already taking.

When non-surgical root canal therapy (NSRCT) is complete, a temporary filling will be placed into the top of the tooth so that food and debris do not pack into the tooth. This will be soft for several hours. Plan for a soft meal after your visit, and avoid foods such as hard chips, popcorn, and nuts.

The pain that was caused by hot and cold will be gone immediately. However, it is common for teeth to be tender to chewing for one to two weeks after having a root canal. The vast majority of patients will only need mild over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the discomfort. If you have pain that lasts longer or is more severe, please contact Dr. Norton at the emergency number found on his card for assistance.

Make an appointment right away! Unless otherwise directed by Dr. Norton, there is no need to wait, and waiting could mean the loss of the tooth. Often decay or cracks in the tooth is what caused the tooth to need a root canal. This prior damage along with additional drilling necessary for treatment can leave a tooth at great risk of further fracture. It is essential to success that the tooth is properly restored by your general dentist as soon as possible. Your referring dentist will build-up and/or place a crown on the tooth to minimize risk of recontamination and root fracture so that your investment in dental health is protected.

We are dedicated to providing the best experience possible.

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