Patient Education

Make informed decisions.

After you have received a referral to Pacific Endodontics, we encourage you to review the content offered below. Our endodontists have anticipated some of your questions and concerns and provided education, explanation, and pictures about root canal therapy, from diagnosis to treatment. Please bring your questions for our endodontists to answer in order to help you make a fully informed decision about your dental health.

Common questions about endodontic treatment:

Helpful Links

The more information you have the better. We’ve compiled this list of useful websites that will help you in your effort to learn more about endodontic procedures.

Why Would I Need A Root Canal?

When the pulp (commonly referred to as the nerve , connective tissue and blood vessels inside of the tooth) becomes damaged from decay, repeated dental procedures, crack, or trauma, the tooth may cause you pain or lead to an infection. More than 15 million teeth receive endodontic treatment each year. “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for tooth. During root canal treatment, the endodontist cleans out the inflamed or infected tissue, then fills and seals the space inside the tooth. Afterwards, your dentist will place a permanent restoration to protect the tooth and place it into full function. Therefore you can keep your natural tooth as a healthy part of your mouth for years to come.

Why would I need a root canal?

How would I know I need a root canal?

Signs to look for include temperature sensitivity to cold or hot, tenderness of teeth to touch or biting, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling. Sometimes there are no symptoms, however your general dentist notes a sign of infection or defect during an examination. Our specialists will do a thorough evaluation in order to come up with a proper diagnosis. If you have any questions in regards to root canal therapy, please ask. We believe your experience at our office will be more pleasant if you have a good understanding regarding your treatment.

How would I know I need a root canal?

Can all teeth be treated with endodontic treatment?

Advances in endodontics are making it possible to save most teeth with root canal therapy. In an epidemiologic study of more than 1.4 million patients assessed during a period of 8 years, it was found that non-surgical endodontic treatment had a very predictable outcome, with 97% of the teeth retained. Though endodontic procedures are intended to help save your natural tooth, this is not always possible. Occasionally a tooth will require extraction because the root canals are not accessible, the root is fractured, inadequate bone support around the tooth, or the tooth cannot be restored and placed back into function. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your chewing ability, and cause other healthy teeth to shift. Due to these negative impacts on your overall health, the extracted tooth whenever possible should be replaced by your dentist with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture.

Can all teeth be treated with endodontics?

After root canal procedure will the tooth need additional treatment in the future?

If retreatment is not an option, endodontic surgery should be considered to save your natural tooth. The most common surgical procedure is a root end resection (apicoectomy). This procedure is occasionally required when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area at the end of your tooth after root canal treatment. During this microsurgical procedure, the endodontist accesses the gum tissue near the tooth to view the underlying bone and remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The end of the root is removed and a filling is placed to seal the tooth. A few stitches / sutures are placed to help the tissue heal. Post-surgical discomfort is generally mild and most patients return to their normal activities the following day.

After a root canal procedure

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure due to modern advances in technologies and techniques. After all, endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by an inflamed or infected pulp. For the first few days after a root canal you may feel some discomfort or experience slight swelling especially if there was pain or infection prior to the procedure. It is not abnormal to feel some tenderness in the area immediately after the procedure is completed as your body undergoes the natural healing process. These symptoms are temporary and the discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow the endodontist’s instructions carefully after the completion of the root canal procedure. If you feel pain or swelling that is getting worse, please contact our office.

How much will the procedure cost?

The cost varies depending on complexity of the problem and which tooth is affected. Most dental insurance policies provide coverage for root canal treatment. Your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statement identifies the benefits, the amount your insurance carrier is willing to pay and charges that are and are not covered by your plan. Our staff will do their best to answer all your questions. Please keep in mind that there are many insurance plans available and that your employer chooses your plan. If you want to get more definitive information about your benefits, you can contact your insurance carrier or plan administrator directly.

We also offer payment plans and Care Credit (, which provide a convenient, low minimum monthly payment program designed to pay for dental healthcare not covered by insurance.