Frequently Asked Questions
How long do root canals take?
Each case is unique, but an average root canal takes between one to two hours.
How long will my mouth be numb after the procedure?
Numbness from local anesthetic usually lasts a few hours after treatment. We recommend that you do not chew any food during this time. Soft foods and drinks are okay.
How painful is a root canal?
The most common misconception about root canals is that they are extremely painful. Not at Modern Endodontics. We use the strongest local anesthetic available to virtually eliminate procedure-related pain. This anesthetic, combined with the state-of-the-art equipment and advanced techniques used by our expert care team ensures a successful and comfortable procedure.
What are my options if the root canal fails?
In the rare case that the root canal is not successful, a retreatment may be necessary to clear out any infected pulp that may have been left in the tooth.
If both a root canal and retreatment are unsuccessful, an apicoectomy may be necessary.
What is a root canal and why do I need one?
Please see our Painless Root Canals page for in-depth information about root canals.
What is an endodontist?
Endodontists are dental specialists who focus on treating infections and injuries to the dental pulp, root and tissues surrounding the teeth. All licensed endodontists must undergo two to three years of specialized training at an accredited university after completing dental school.
What is dental pulp?
Dental pulp is made up of a mass of nerves and located inside the center of the tooth. It can become infected when bacteria in the mouth and saliva enter the tooth through decay or a crack caused by injury or faulty dental work.
When dental pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it may need to be removed through a root canal.
What is Gutta Percha?
Gutta-Percha is the filling most commonly used by endodontists to seal the area where the dental pulp used to be. It is an inert and biocompatible material made from the sap of the tropical gutta-percha tree.
What is the recovery time involved with a root canal?
None. Most patients return to work immediately after treatment. Over-the-counter painkillers are helpful in reducing soreness and discomfort.
What is the success rate for root canals?
Root canal therapy is usually highly successful on the first treatment. In fact, some studies show the success rate of root canals to be as high as 95 percent.
When can I start chewing with my treated tooth?
We recommend you start chewing on the tooth only when you’ve had the crown properly repaired by your dentist. Please make an appointment to have this done soon after your root canal treatment.
Waiting too long to have crown repair may result in contamination of the tooth, resulting in the need for another root canal. In severe cases, the tooth may be so infected that it may need to be extracted.
Will I be placed on antibiotics after my procedure?
In recent years, there has been a sea change in the medical profession in regards to prescribing antibiotics. Many bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, so doctors and dentists are cautious about prescribing them unless we feel they are totally necessary.
Will my tooth become discolored after a root canal?
Most likely not. However, some people who have had root canals in the past may experience discoloring. In these cases, we can do an internal tooth bleaching to remedy the problem.