West Coast Endodontics

Christina H. Vy, D.M.D.

Root Canal Therapy

What is endodontic treatment?

In Greek, endo means “inside” and ondont means “tooth—this branch of dentistry deals with the inside of the tooth. An endodontist typically performs root canals. You can click on this anchor to find the best one around you.

Root Canal Therapy

Knowing the anatomy of the tooth helps with the understanding of endodontics. The pulp is the soft tissue under the white enamel and the dentin, a hard layer. As the tooth develops, blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue in the pulp help build its hard tissues. Because a mature tooth is nourished by the surrounding tissues, it can survive without the pulp.

Why would I need an endodontic procedure?

Root Canal Therapy

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp contained in the canal of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected—which can be a result of decay, dental procedures on a particular tooth, or cracking or chipping the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left alone, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

What are the signs I need endodontic treatment?
If you are experiencing pain; prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold; tenderness to touch and chewing; tooth discoloration; or swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes, please see your dentist. But be aware that there are sometimes no symptoms.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
After we remove the inflamed or infected pulp, we carefully clean and shape the inside of the canal, then fill and seal the space. Afterwards, you’ll return to your dentist for a crown or other restoration to protect and restore your tooth to full function. After this, your tooth functions normally.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
With our years of experience and state of the art technology, we aim for procedures that are comfortable and pain-free. “While we use anesthethic to numb the area as we work, your tooth may be sensitive for a few days. Many patients report that having a root canal is no more painful than getting a filling.”

Endodontic Procedure

Typically, an endodontic treatment can be performed in one or two visits. Here’s what’s involved:
1. We’ll examine and X-ray the tooth, administer local anesthetic, and place a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it free from saliva during the procedure.

Root Canal Therapy

2. We make an opening in the tooth and clean the pulp chamber and root canals. Then, we shape the space for filling.
Root Canal Therapy

3. We fill the root canals with “gutta-percha,” a rubber-like material secured with an adhesive cement. We’ll also place a temporary filling, which your dentist will later remove in order to restore the tooth.

Root Canal Therapy

4. Your dentist then places a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.

Root Canal Therapy

In some cases, the dentist may place a post inside the tooth if there is insufficient structure for the restoration.
Root Canal Therapy
How much will the procedure cost?
Depending on the tooth and how serious the problem is, the cost varies. For instance, root canals in molars are generally more expensive. Dental insurance typically covers endodontic treatment and surgery. It’s also important to keep in mind that having a root canal is almost always cheaper and easier than having to replace the tooth. With root canal treatment you not only save your natural tooth, you also save money in the long run.

Will my tooth need any special care or additional treatment after endodontic treatment?
Until your dentist restores it, you should avoid direct chewing or biting on the tooth. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. Occasionally, though, a tooth doesn’t heal properly or continues to be painful. This could happen months or even years after treatment. In such cases, endodontic “retreatment” is necessary to save the tooth.

9907 SE Division St.
Portland, OR 97266
P 503-762-2500
F 503-762-2504



AEE Logo