Root Canal Common Questions

Southern Arizona Endodontics | Root Canal FAQs

We have identified some common root canal treatment questions you may have. Click on the one of the questions below to have your question addressed.

“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment.

Inside the tooth, below the white enamel is a dense layer called dentin, lies a soft tissue called pulp. The pulp consists of important blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, which creates the surrounding hard tissues of a tooth during development and growth.

The pulp extends from the crown of a tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. Once a tooth is fully formed it can survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

Your comfort is our primary concern. Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve discomfort. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure, and some even say it was easier than having a filling.

New trauma, deep decay, tooth fracture or a broken filling can cause a new infection in your tooth. In some cases, due to very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.

A root canal procedure does not kill the tooth; the tooth will be able to function as it normally does once your post-care, permanent restoration placed (by your referring dentist). Though the nerves inside the tooth will be removed, they serve very little function in a mature tooth.

If left untreated, the infection in the tooth can extend to other parts of the body, and in some cases can even be life threatening. Infected pulp in a tooth must be removed.

We call Dental specialists who perform endodontic treatments “Endodontists.” Endodontists clear the infection inside the tooth making it possible for you to keep your natural tooth. 

Your endodontist places a temporary filling that should stay intact for three to four weeks. We recommend you return to your personal dentist within this period of time.

A temporary filling will be placed at the time of your root canal procedure. The type of restoration will be determined by your referring dentist based on your treatment plan.

In most cases, yes! Most root canal procedures are performed with a local anesthetic, meaning only the treated areas will be numb during the course of the procedure. In special circumstances, a driver may be required.

You should be able to return to your normal activities immediately after your procedure. You can expect the area to be numb for an hour or two after treatment. Once the numbness wears off, you may experience some tenderness around the tooth, which is typical.

A difficult root canal procedure is routine for us because, that is all we do! We will try our best to save your natural tooth because no denture, bridge, or implant will look, feel or function like your natural tooth.

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