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Mindy Van, DDS, MSD - Chicago, IL

The root canal is a pulp-filled cavity in the root of your tooth. When the pulp in this area becomes infected, root canal therapy treatment will be necessary. The specialists at Lakeview Endodontics are highly trained in treating the root canal, a unique, specific area of the tooth. Our office in Chicago will work to ensure you’re able to return to optimal oral health in the least invasive, most effective way possible.

Common Questions about Root Canal Therapy

What is the difference between root canal therapy and root canal surgery?

For root canal therapy treatment, your endodontist at Lakeview Endodontics will enter the root canal through the crown of the tooth to remove the infected pulp. Sometimes, this non-surgical option is not effective because the infection is located further down in the root of the tooth. If this is the case, your specialist can treat the infection through root canal surgery by entering the canals through the gum tissue. Both are important and effective endodontic treatments to help save patients’ natural teeth.

When is root canal treatment required?

If you’re experiencing tooth pain when chewing, prolonged sensitivity in the tooth (especially to hot or cold temperatures), discoloration on the tooth, or swelling or sensitive gums, you may have a root canal infection. Root canal infections most often occur when a tooth’s pulp has deep decay, a tooth undergoes multiple dental procedures or large fillings, or if a tooth has a crack, chip, or other trauma. If you have a tooth infection, your specialist at Lakeview Endodontics will talk you through the options and course of treatment to get you back to full health and comfort.

Will I be sedated for my root canal treatment?

At Lakeview Endodontics, we are proud to offer patients a variety of both anesthesia and sedative options during their root canal therapy treatment. We do offer conscious sedation, as well. Before your root canal therapy, your specialist will walk you through each of the options to choose which is best for you.

How is the root canal therapy done?

On the day of treatment, your specialist will administer the appropriate anesthesia to ensure that you feel entirely comfortable throughout the procedure. During the procedure, a small rubber shield is placed on the tooth to keep it clean and dry. The dental pulp is accessed through the crown of the tooth, and the tooth is disinfected under high magnification using a combination of solutions and small instruments to remove the bacteria and debris. Once clear, the shaped canals are filled with permanent root canal filling material and the crown is filled with a temporary filling. Depending on the severity of your case, a root canal treatment will take one to two appointments, lasting about 90 minutes each.

How painful is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment has a reputation of being painful, but patients at Lakeview Endodontics often report little to no pain. The procedure may feel similar to a filling or crown placement. If you’re concerned about your root canal treatment, talk with your specialist. We have medication and sedation options to put your mind at ease, and we will work to answer all your questions, ensuring you know exactly what to expect going into your root canal treatment.

How long does it take to heal from root canal treatment?

You are expected to be able to return to your everyday activities the very next day after root canal therapy. The tissue around the treated area will feel sensitive for up to a few days, depending on the severity of the infection. Patients generally only experience mild pain during the days following a root canal.

Can root canal treatment be avoided?

If you have a root canal infection, it will not go away on its own. It is important to see a specialist as soon as possible if symptoms occur, to prevent the infection from becoming worse. If left untreated, the infection can reach the tooth’s roots or the jaw bone and further complications can occur. It’s important to maintain regular dental hygiene—such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash daily—and visiting your dentist for cleanings to avoid future infections.

Will root canal treatment last forever?

While every patient’s oral health is different, root canal therapy is a highly effective and routine treatment for root canal infections. Sometimes, a non-surgical root canal treatment might not get to the site of infection because it is located further down towards the root of the tooth. In these cases, root canal surgery may be a better treatment option to treat the infection directly through the root.

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