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The anxious patient

We understand that the needs of our patients often extend beyond the simple root canal procedure. For this reason we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or oral sedation after consultation with us.  Your comfort is our priority! 


Root Canal

As a cavity or crack in the tooth approaches the nerve space symptoms such as temperature sensitivity, biting sensitivity, or spontaneous pain may occur.  In such cases a root canal may be indicated to relieve the pain and save the tooth.  


The tooth is thoroughly numbed and isolated with a rubber dam, a protective sheet that keeps the tooth clean.  The innermost portion of the tooth is then carefully cleaned and disinfected through a small window in the biting surface of the tooth. Once cleaned the internal space is sealed with a material called gutta percha.  A temporary or permanent filling is then used to rebuild the tooth.  Follow up care with your dentist may be indicated to fully protect your tooth for the future.



Although highly successful, root canal treated teeth can become painful or reinfected even years after initial treatment for a multitude of reasons.  Common causes for failure include a breakdown of dental materials over time, cracks, or untreated spaces within the roots allowing a root infection and/or pain to develop.


Retreatment is the revision of a previous root canal treatment to treat infection or alleviate pain.  The root filling material is carefully accessed and removed.  The root space is then cleaned and resealed.   Many times this procedure is separated into 2 visits while a medicine is left internally to continue to disinfect the root space.  A temporary or permanent filling is then placed in the crown.  Occasionally the existing crown or restoration will need to be replaced. 

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Occasionally retreatment of a root canal is not possible and surgical treatment of a root infection is indicated.  The area is thoroughly numbed and the infection is accessed through a small window in the gums and removed.  The root tips are then cleaned and sealed from this area and the tissues sutured in place.  Follow up at our office is valuable to confirm healing of the bone and resolution of the infection in the area.

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