Skip to content


Similar to other dental procedures, except this procedure involves removing the soft inner portion of the tooth.

Tooth symptoms requiring endodontic treatment often include lingering or severe cold or heat sensitivity, pressure or pain to biting, or tenderness and swelling of the surrounding gum tissue. With over 16 million endodontic, or root canal treatments completed each year in the U.S., it is one of the most common dental procedures performed. Even though statistics show that 15% of people in the U.S. avoid seeking dental care because of misconceptions and fears, 89% are satisfied after root canal treatment by a specialist. Most people have strong negative feelings about losing their teeth, and root canal treatment is often just the answer they need.

The soft inner portion of the tooth, referred to as the pulp, is comprised of nerve fibers, blood vessels, and connective fibers and is responsible for the growth and development the tooth when you are young. This dental pulp lies in the center of the tooth in the pulp chamber, and continues down each root through narrow passages and exiting at the tip of each root. The pulp may be removed when it becomes infected or inflamed. Inflammation or infection can be caused by cumulative irritation from previous dental procedures, decay, cracks, periodontal disease, or injury.

A toothache may develop, but occasionally endodontic problems remain painless though an abscess may be apparent on an x-ray. Some teeth develop a small bump, or “pimple” on the adjacent gum tissue. These “sinus tracts” as they are called, are often the only clinical sign that there is a problem. Spontaneous or vague aching sensations also may indicate a tooth problem. Endodontic problems are very common, yet oral pain is often misdiagnosed as ear ache, sinus, or headache. Symptoms vary, so it is important that an accurate diagnosis be made following a thorough examination, which also requires an x-ray or radiograph of the area.

Root canal treatment is in many ways like removing a splinter from a wound. As the pulp becomes inflamed or begins to degenerate, this unhealthy internal tissue can be removed so that the tooth be preserved. The procedure generally involves local anesthetic, and the experience is similar in many ways to a regular filling. A protective covering (rubber dam) is placed on the tooth to create a clean and dry field. Next, a small opening is made through the chewing surface (including fillings or crowns). The canal system is then cleaned and shaped with small hand and rotary instruments, and disinfected. After proper drying of the canals, a rubbery material is compacted into this space to create a hygienic seal.


Appointment times are usually one hour and are most often completed in a single visit. Occasionally more than one appointment is necessary depending on the diagnosis. Following treatment, a permanent or temporary filling will be placed to seal the tooth, depending on subsequent treatment planned. Your referring doctor will decide on the type of permanent restoration required. One of the leading causes of failure of endodontic treatment is leakage and contamination of the root canal filling, therefore it is important to contact your dentist immediately following treatment to schedule this work.

If a temporary filling was placed and you suspect that it may have come out, call our office at 817-737-3000 or contact your referring dentist within 24 hrs.

After Treatment

The treated tooth may remain tender or “bruised” for a few days after treatment. Cold or hot sensitivity should be eliminated immediately, but it takes a while for the surrounding tissues to heal. This feeling comes from soreness in the tissues supporting the tooth even though there should be no feeling in the tooth itself. Discomfort should be reduced by taking over-the-counter ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin. Tylenol, aspirin, or Alleve may be substituted if necessary. If these medications don’t control your discomfort, or swelling develops, please contact our office.