Root Canal Facts


Woman flossing her teeth

The Root of the Problem


  • Endodontists are root canal specialists that spend a minimum of two (2) years after dental school to earn the degree. There is a great degree of science associated with saving a tooth.
  • Endodontists as a specialty have a 98% success rate and fixing previously failed root canals at 90% success rate. Many teeth are pulled prematurely without a second opinion.
  • Root canal – we do not remove the roots, but the nerve and blood vessel in the center of each root. The two (2) together is called the pulp.
  • Tooth abscess- Bacteria get into the roots, digest /destroy the pulp, multiply and spread into the bone causing a tooth abscess.
  • Antibiotics or your healing cells cannot get back into the tooth anymore, so the infection continues until we can do the root canal
  • If the nerve is gone, the tooth still hurts? Besides the nerve in the tooth, there are nerves that attach to the outside of the tooth and nerves in the jaw surrounding the tooth.
  • Pain will vary on many things: position of the tooth, degree of inflammation, degree of infection, combination of both and how long the tooth was a problem before seeking help.
  • Why are some infections worst or more persistent? There are over 700 different bacteria that can be in your mouth, at any one time about 200 different types. In different combinations, can give many different results.
  • The anatomy of teeth can be complicated, where the nerves are and the bacteria can hide.
  • Specialists routinely used specialized equipment: 3D imaging, surgical microscopes, rubber dams (sterility!), lasers and specialty journals to review new techniques and other similar cases.
  • Your good friend tells you a tooth is being removed because the dentist said that a previous root canal failed. Well, 30 % of our specialty is fixing failed root canals. So, be a good friend and have them get a second opinion.
  • The internet reports the average cost to replace a single tooth with an implant can range from $3,000 – $6,000. But there are many factors that can be involved.  Always get a written opinion.
  • I read on the internet that root canals can harbor infections in accessory canals and cause other diseases. Yes, there can be accessory canals (common knowledge) that is what specialists’ study. No, other disease are not from infected teeth. Beware of false internet prophets.
  • Tooth trauma can be extremely complicated costly and psychiatrically damaging to a child.  It must be handled correctly the first time. Specialists understand the technical, insurance and legal standpoint.
  • Many times, tooth pain is not from a tooth, it can be from TMJ, sinus, and neurologic issues. Part of our specialty is working with the dentist and medical specialists to solve the problem.
  • Special needs endodontics (Autism, dental phobias, Alzheimer’s )  is a specialty  in our group using I.V. sedation, like getting a wisdom tooth pulled, but you keep the tooth for a lifetime.