Root Canal Therapy in charlotte

My tooth hurts! What does it mean?

Toothaches can be painful and distracting, and are most commonly a sign of decay or infection. Tooth infections are especially uncomfortable, but root canal therapy can relieve that pain in a single visit.With modern techniques, root canal therapy is a pain-free procedure that can help stop the spread of decay and restore the integrity of a damaged tooth.

root canal in Charlotte, NC

Did you know…

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About 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to misconceptions about dental procedures.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (704) 703-3393 to schedule today!

How it works: The root canal treatment process

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Exam & X-Rays

Before you undergo any treatment, your Charlotte dentist will examine your mouth and review any x-rays or other images to diagnose the cause of your toothache. If the cause turns out to be a tooth infection, your doctor will determine the extent of the damage and decide if root canal therapy can treat the problem.

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Local Anesthesia & Sedation Options

To start things off, your dentist will clean and numb the treatment site, all the way down to the including the nerves with local anesthesia. If you would like to be sedated during the procedure, your doctor will help you decide what kind of sedation will be best for you.

Removing Decay & Infected Pulp

Once you are comfortably numb, your dentist will begin removing any decayed material starting with the enamel. From there, they will move toward the pulp. Once the infected pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth and the canals have been thoroughly cleaned, the area is flushed with disinfectant to eliminate bacteria.

Filling The Root Canals

To fill the space left by the decayed material, the interior of the tooth will be filled with “gutta-percha,” an inert, rubber-like material that supports the inside of the tooth to maintain its structure.

Sealing Or Capping The Tooth

Depending on how much enamel was removed during the procedure, the appearance and function of the tooth will be restored with either a filling or a dental crown.

Types of root canal therapies

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Anterior Root Canals

 Anterior root canals are performed on your anterior, or front, teeth. Because your front teeth are smaller, with less surface area, they are a more difficult and complex procedure than posterior (rear or molar) root canals. 

During a posterior root canal, the large surface area of a molar or premolar’s crown allows doctors to create an opening at the top of the tooth. This is simply not possible with an anterior tooth, and the opening must be made on the lingual (the side that faces the tongue) surface of the tooth. The small surface of front teeth also makes it more difficult to restore with a crown or filling afterwards.

Posterior Root Canals

Posterior root canals are used to treat infected molars or premolars, teeth that reside in the back of the mouth. Due to their location and their pitted, grooved surfaces, posterior root canals are a more common treatment than their anterior counterparts. 

In a posterior root canal, an opening is made in the crown, or top, of the infected tooth, which provides easy access to the interior pulp and root canals. Once the inside of the tooth has been cleared of bacteria and decay, the tooth will be restored with a filling or a dental crown.


Root canal therapy is one of the most successful dental treatments around, able to preserve an infected or damaged tooth’s natural structure with a success rate of about 95%. However, a variety of factors could cause a tooth that has received root canal therapy to heal improperly, or for the infection to return. Due to the complex structure of the canals within your tooth, it is possible for some bacteria to survive and multiply even after getting root canal therapy. Another way for bacteria to make their way back into the treated area is via an improperly fitted dental crown. No matter the cause, a failed root canal may require root canal retreatment to save the tooth and avoid extraction. 

The retreatment process is similar to a regular root canal. Your dentist will remove the crown or filling to open up the treated tooth. They will then remove the existing “gutta-percha” filling and use special magnification, illumination, and imaging tools, to take a look at your tooth’s anatomy to identify any additional canals that may have been missing in the first procedure, or unique structures that may require cleansing. Once the canals have been cleaned and filled, a dental crown will be placed and fitted exactly, to ensure your tooth stays healthy.


Pulpotomies, often called “baby root canals,” are a treatment commonly used to restore infected baby teeth, although it may be used on adult teeth if necessary. The procedure itself is also similar to that of a normal root canal, with the difference lying in the amount of pulp removed from the tooth. 

Your dentist will begin by cleaning and numbing the treatment area before removing any decayed enamel and creating an opening in the tooth. They will proceed to remove the top layers of the pulp, leaving nothing but the healthy pulp, instead of clearing out all of it like in a traditional root canal.Once the infection has been eliminated, the interior of the tooth will be flushed and sanitized. 

A special healing dressing will then be applied to the remaining pulp to encourage it to heal and keep the tooth alive.

Did you know…

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Around 25 million root canals are performed every year.

Think you may need a root canal?

Call (704) 703-3393 to schedule today!

Have questions about root canal treatment? Find answers here.

Do I need a root canal?

If you’re experiencing a tooth infection, chances are you will need root canal therapy. Tooth infections generally happen one of two ways: 

  1. Cavities can eat away at the outer layers of your enamel and into your dentin. The decay will eventually reach the interior of the tooth to expose the vulnerable pulp to infection-causing bacteria that causes the infection. 
  2. Dental trauma can create a chip or a crack in the enamel and dentin, creating an opening for bacteria to enter the nerve and blood vessel-filled pulp. 

No matter how the infection occurs, it will cause the pulp to begin to decay and eventually die. When this happens, you’ll experience a toothache, gum inflammation near the tooth, and tooth sensitivity to temperature and pressure. 

Does root canal treatment hurt?

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No. Root canal therapy has come a long way in recent years, and modern techniques make a root canal a pain-free procedure. In fact, the procedure is similar to getting a dental filling, and patients who receive root canal therapy can expect their tooth pain to be relieved almost instantly. 

Your mouth will be numbed completely during treatment, and you can even choose to be sedated if you would like. Root canal therapy is the best way to alleviate the pain and discomfort of an infected tooth, which can be unbearable.

Can root canal treatment fail and what happens if it does?

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Root canals are one of the most effective dental treatments available, but in rare cases, the treatment can fail. If there is any decayed material or bacteria left behind, the infection can return. If the infection comes back, you’ll return to our office for endodontic retreatment, during which your tooth will be reopened and the root canal process will be repeated to ensure that the infection is completely removed.

Do I always need a crown with a root canal?

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Not always. Although dental crowns are usually the best way to protect your tooth after getting a root canal, and are almost always recommended for posterior teeth (molars and premolars), fillings can also be used to restore anterior (front) teeth. Your dentist will let you know what kind of restoration is best for you after your root canal has been completed.

Is root canal therapy covered by insurance?

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Root canal therapy is generally covered, at least in part, by most major dental insurance providers. However, it’s best to consult with your own insurance provider to gain an understanding of your benefits. 

Are Root Canals Common?

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Yes, root canals are one of the most common dental procedures, with 15 million plus root canals, or endodontic treatments, performed every year in the US alone. They’re especially common because they treat various complications with a relatively high success rate. However, most dentists recommend root canals for treating severe dental decay.

Severe dental decay is decay where the enamel corrosion goes past the enamel and dentin and into the tooth’s roots. This opens up the root’s core (pulp) to bacterial infection that quickly spreads throughout the pulp. The pulp contains sensitive nerve fibers that get irritated by the acid the bacteria produce as a by-product of feeding on starch and sugars. This leads to intense pain that’s usually resistant to painkillers. A root canal involves the infected pulp, giving you instant pain relief and stopping the infection in its tracks. They’re also necessary for patients with teeth damage from physical trauma.

What Is an Emergency Root Canal?

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An emergency root canal is a root canal dentists perform urgently stemming from unexpected dental complications (dental emergencies). The procedure for root canals is the same as that of regular root canals, but patients don’t have to make prior appointments. Instead, they can walk into the dentist’s office and begin treatment right away.

Emergency root canals are handled by emergency dentists. Emergency dentists offer services outside of regular working hours. This means they’re available on short notice to handle dental emergencies, including those that require root canals. Emergency dentists are usually available on weekends, late nights, and even holidays.

Several situations may warrant an emergency root canal. For instance, acute pain in your tooth warrants an emergency root canal. This is especially true if painkillers do nothing for the pain. You might also need an emergency root canal if you get dental trauma from an injury that exposes your tooth’s roots. The dentist will examine your tooth to determine the suitability of a root canal.

Are There Any Alternatives to Root Canals?

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Root canals are incredibly effective against dental decay, but they’re not the only treatments. You see, dentists only recommend a root canal in cases where the decay is not too severe and there’s a chance of saving the tooth instead of extracting it. Otherwise, if the decay is too advanced, extracting the tooth may be the only viable option since the tooth will eventually disintegrate from excessive decay. 

Pulp capping is another excellent alternative to root canals, but is limited to not-so-severe cases of dental infections. Pulp capping involves removing the infected portion of the pulp while retaining the healthy part. After removing the infected pulp, your dentist will place a cap over the healthy part, protecting it from infection and encouraging regeneration.

Sometimes, dentists might also consider regenerative procedures for premature permanent teeth with infected pulp. These involve disinfecting the infected pulp cavities and inserting materials that encourage the regeneration of new pulp tissue.

Did you know…

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Root canal therapy can save you from needing more complex, invasive treatments.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

Call (704) 703-3393 to schedule today!