TOP 10Endodontic FAQs

If you’ve ever experienced a toothache or sensitivity, you may have heard about the possibility of needing a root canal. Root canals are a standard endodontic procedure used to treat an infected or inflamed tooth, and they can often save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted. As with any dental procedure, you may have questions about what to expect and whether it’s the right choice for you. In this article, our experienced endodontist, Dr. Gerald Gray, answers the top 10 frequently asked questions about endodontics and root canals so that you can be informed and prepared for your next visit!

Dr. Gerald Gray and Dr. Manal Zaibak smiling at the camera

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What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of teeth. The word “endodontic” comes from two Greek words: “endo” meaning “inside” and “odont” meaning “tooth.” Dr. Gerald Gray has received advanced training in managing complex endodontic cases, including root canal therapy, apicoectomies, and treating traumatic dental injuries. They use specialized techniques and tools to save teeth that might otherwise need to be extracted, helping to preserve the natural dentition and promote overall oral health.

When Is a Root Canal Necessary?

A root canal procedure is necessary when the dental pulp inside a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen due to deep decay, trauma, cracks or chips in the tooth, or repeated dental procedures. The inflamed or infected pulp can cause pain, swelling, and can lead to the formation of abscesses. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and cause more serious health problems. Root canal therapy can help save a damaged or infected tooth, relieve pain, and prevent the spread of infection.

What Are the Symptoms of Needing a Root Canal?

Symptoms of needing a root canal may include severe toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling around the affected tooth, tenderness when chewing, and discoloration of the tooth. However, in some cases, there may be no symptoms at all, which is why regular dental checkups are so important. Dr. Gray can use imaging and other diagnostic tools to detect early signs of dental decay or infection and recommend appropriate treatment.

How Can I Prevent the Need for a Root Canal?

Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly, can help prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of needing a root canal. Regular dental checkups can also help detect early signs of decay or infection before they become more serious problems. Avoiding hard foods or habits like biting pencils and ice cubes can help prevent tooth damage, and wearing a mouthguard during sports or other high-risk activities can help protect teeth from trauma.

How Is a Root Canal Performed?

During a root canal procedure, our endodontist removes the infected or inflamed pulp from the tooth, cleans and shapes the root canal, and then fills and seals the space. Depending on the severity of the infection, a crown or other restoration may be placed on top of the tooth to protect it and restore its function. Root canal therapy is a highly effective treatment that can help save a damaged or infected tooth and relieve pain.

Is a Root Canal a Painful Procedure?

With modern techniques and anesthesia, a root canal procedure should not be painful. Some discomfort or sensitivity is normal after the procedure, but it can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. In fact, many people report feeling immediate relief from the pain associated with an infected tooth once the root canal procedure is complete.

How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Take?

The length of a root canal procedure depends on the complexity of the case and the number of canals in the tooth. In most cases, a root canal can be completed in one or two appointments. Our endodontist will discuss the specifics of the treatment plan with the patient prior to the procedure

What Are the Alternatives to a Root Canal?

The only alternative to a root canal procedure is extraction of the affected tooth. However, tooth extraction can lead to other problems, such as shifting of surrounding teeth and loss of bone in the jaw. In most cases, it is recommended to save the natural tooth through a root canal procedure. However, in some situations, our endodontist may recommend extraction and replacement with a dental implant or bridge.

Can a Tooth With a Root Canal Get Infected Again?

In rare cases, a tooth with a root canal can become reinfected. This can happen if the sealant used to fill the root canal becomes damaged or if bacteria are able to enter the tooth through a new crack or cavity. However, with proper care and regular dental checkups, the risk of reinfection is very low. Patients should continue to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly, to help prevent future decay and infection. It is also important to attend regular dental checkups, where our endodontist can monitor the health of the treated tooth and detect any potential problems before they become more serious.

What Is an Apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure in which the tip of the tooth root is removed along with infected tissue. This procedure is typically used when a previous root canal has failed or when there is an infection in the surrounding bone. Our endodontist will create a small incision in the gum tissue near the tooth, and remove the infected or damaged tissue from the root end. The tip of the root is then sealed with a filling material to prevent future infection. An apicoectomy is typically performed under local anesthesia and is usually a relatively quick procedure. After the procedure, patients can expect some swelling and discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Need an Endodontist? We can Help!

As an experienced endodontist in Rochester, NY, Dr. Gray hopes this article has been helpful in answering some of your questions about endodontics and root canal therapy. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned or have concerns about your oral health, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our practice.

With the latest technology and techniques, Dr. Gray is dedicated to providing his patients with high-quality, compassionate care. By choosing root canal therapy, patients can help save their natural teeth and promote overall oral health!

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If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Our friendly team is happy to help you in any way we can.

Dr. Muna Abudayyeh - referring Dentist, smiling