Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is one of the most common dental procedures performed. Millions of teeth are treated and saved by this procedure each year.

Done to save natural teeth, it is a safe and effective procedure, and it relieves pain. Saving the natural tooth retains a natural appearance, protects other teeth from excessive wear/strain, and maintains efficient chewing and a normal biting force. Nothing looks, feels or functions like our natural teeth.

tooth anatomy illustration

Tooth Anatomy

To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about a tooth’s anatomy.

Teeth consist of several layers. Inside your tooth, underneath the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, a soft tissue known as the pulp resides. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue that are responsible for growing the roots of your tooth during development.

Even though pulp is important during tooth development, the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even when the pulp is removed.

Why Would I Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is needed when a tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed or infected as a result of trauma to a tooth, an infection within the tooth, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or when deep decay is present.

Common symptoms that mean you might need root canal therapy:

  • Severe pain when chewing or biting
  • Spontaneous tooth pain or pain that wakes you up at night
  • “Pimples” on the gums
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Fractured or chipped tooth
  • Deep decay, large holes
  • Darkening of the teeth or gums
  • Lingering sensitivity to col or hot
  • Dental trauma
Infected/inflammed tooth diagram

Root Canal Therapy Explained

Root canal therapy is usually performed in one 30 – 90 minute session. Your tooth’s anatomy and the status of the pulp inside your tooth can also effect treatment time. On occasion, a treatment may be divided into two separate appointments.

Root canal therapy involves the following steps:

Diagram of tooth with damaged pulp
diagram of root access opening in tooth
  • The endodontist Inspects and takes a radiograph of the tooth using x-rays, then administers local anesthetic. When the tooth is numb, the endodontist isolates the tooth by placing a small protective sheet over the area to keep it clean and saliva-free during the procedure.
  • After making an opening in the tooth’s crown, the endodontist uses very small instruments to remove the infected/inflamed pulp tissue, clean the pulp chamber and root canals, then shape the space for filling. Medication is administered into the tooth to eliminate bacteria and infection.
  • The root canal is then filled with an rubber-like, biocompatible material (Gutta-percha) and sealed. Usually, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. Your dentist will remove the temporary filling prior to restoring the tooth.
  • 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 does not have sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the tooth. Consult your dentist or endodontist about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.

diagram of temporary filling
diagram of healed root canal
diagram of root canal with post

How Can Endodontic Treatment help me?

For more information please view this video produced by the American Association of Endodontists

Endodontic Treatment FAQs

Is root canal therapy painful?

With modern techniques and anesthetics, most people report they are comfortable during the procedure.

The first few days after treatment your tooth may feel sensitive, especially when there was pain or infection prior to the procedure. Over-the-counter or prescription medications can relieve this discomfort. Carefully follow the instructions you have been given.

For some time after your treatment is completed, your tooth may continue to feel somewhat different from your others. However, if you experience severe pain or pressure or pain lasting more than a few days, call us.

How long does a root canal take?

Typical root canal therapy usually takes about 30-90 minutes to complete. Your tooth’s anatomy and the status of the pulp inside your tooth can also affect treatment time.

On occasion, a treatment may be divided into two separate appointments. In those cases, a medication is placed in your tooth to kill bacteria and prepare the tooth to be filled with root canal filling materials at the subsequent appointment.

Once the root canal procedure is complete, you must visit your dentist to have a restoration placed on the tooth to protect it and restore its full functionality.

What to expect after a root canal?

Some patients experience sensitivity, swelling, or inflammation for a few days post-treatment. Others experience an uneven bite or a reaction to the medication administered during the procedure. These temporary symptoms typically respond well to over-the-counter medication but your doctor may prescribe stronger medication as well. In most cases, the sensitivity and discomfort associated with a root canal should resolve within a short period.

After your procedure, Dr. Concepcion will send you home with instructions for pain management and how to care for your tooth while recovering from treatment. Following guidelines for care is especially important if a temporary filling or crown is in place.

Contact our office immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
  • visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
  • an allergic reaction to medication (rash, hives or itching)
  • the temporary filling comes out (losing a thin layer is normal)
  • symptoms you experienced prior to treatment return
How much does a root canal cost?

Costs will vary based on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Dr. Concepcion and her team will discuss the fees with you at the time of your appointment.

At Advanced Endodontics, Dr. Concepcion is in-network with several insurance providers. Please call to inquire if your insurance plan is accepted at our office. If your plan is out-of-network, we are always happy to file a claim to your insurance provider for you. In some cases, even out-of-network plans may cover a large portion of root canal treatment. We will always work with you to determine your estimated cost for treatment so you can be prepared.

Please visit our Financial Options to learn more about what insurance plans and other healthcare financing options we accept.

Maria Concepcion, D.M.D

250 W. Lancaster Ave.
Paoli, PA 19301

Office Hours

Monday:8am - 5pm
Tuesday:8am - 5pm
Wednesday:8am - 5pm
Thursday:8am - 5pm
Friday:8am - 5pm

Contact Us!

Phone:   610.644.8899

Phone:   610.644.8899

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