Endodontic Dental Services


Endodontist Westford MA

Our primary goal is to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Our practice specializes in Endodontics, commonly referred to as root canal therapy. Endodontics is the treatment of the pulp and surrounding tissues of a tooth. When root canal therapy is performed the pulp chamber of the tooth is removed and then filled with a suitable filling material. Root canals are most often necessary when decay has reached the nerve of the tooth or the tooth has become infected. People have anywhere from 1 to 4 canals in a tooth. Extra canals may branch out and are called “accessory canals.” The number of canals and anatomy of a tooth can vary. The word “endo” comes from the Greek language and means “inside” or within. Endodontists work with the “inside” of a tooth.
Occasionally a tooth that was treated months or years ago may develop new problems. In some cases a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal or continues to have pain. You may have another chance to save the tooth with a second endodontic procedure.
In some cases it may be necessary to remove the infected root tips or apex and the nearby tissue. This is known as a apical surgery or an apicoectomy. The area around the apex of the tooth that is infected is cleaned, and the tip of the root is resected and sealed. Sutures are placed and an ice pack is applied. Medication is prescribed to help alleviate any pain or discomfort and it is best to plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Most patients will have some minor swelling and occasional bruising with some numbness.
Symptoms of a cracked tooth are varied and may include pain when chewing, temperature sensitivity or pressure sensitivity or a combination of these. Because the pain often comes and goes, it can be very difficult to recognize what is causing the problem. It can sometimes even be difficult to identify exactly which tooth is causing the discomfort.

Even small movement of the cracked tooth pieces during chewing can cause irritation to the tooth’s pulp, which causes pain. Similarly, when the bite is released, the crack can close quickly, causing sharp pain. Over time, the tooth pulp will become damaged. As this happens, the tooth will hurt more consistently. Cracks can sometimes lead to infections in the pulp tissue and spread to the surrounding gum and bone.


Endodontic Post-Op Instructions


Post-Operative Instructions Following Root Canal Therapy:

Thank you for selecting us for your root canal therapy. Please follow the guidelines below and contact us with any questions.

  1. For the next 30 minutes, do not eat or drink anything. You have a temporary filling that takes about 1/2 hour to harden. Please do not feel around your tooth with your tongue.
  2. If any prescriptions were given, please have them filled promptly. If no prescriptions were given and you are not allergic, you may use any ibuprofen type of medication such as Motrin or Advil, 3 tablets (600mg) every 6-8 hours as needed for discomfort and alleviation of swelling. Alternatively, you may use Tylenol, 1000mg every 6-8 hours as needed. Do not exceed the guidelines printed on the label for any medication. If you are unable to achieve adequate pain control, please call our office.
  3. You may find using an ice pack to the affected area helpful. Please do not apply ice directly to the skin, have a cloth between the ice and skin at all times. You may apply the ice for up to 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the next 6-8 hours as needed.
  4. Once you begin to eat and drink, avoid chewing or biting on the area worked on until your permanent restoration is in place. The area may be more sensitive due to swelling. The temporary in place is a soft composite that is vulnerable to fracturing (cracking) with hard substances such as peanuts, pretzels, hard candy, ice cubes, etc. You will need to see a restorative dentist within a month to have a permanent crown placed. Please contact your restorative dentist to make an appointment at your earliest convenience. Waiting longer than a month increases the chances that the temporary will fracture and/or decay will develop, in which case, you are at fault and will be responsible for all costs to have it redone.
  5. Please keep the area worked on clean by gently brushing the area and flossing regularly.
  6. It is rare for a temporary filling to fall out although it may divot while in use. If the temporary falls out please contact your general dentist as soon as possible. If your temporary falls out after office hours you may purchase some temporary filling material from most pharmacy’s and follow the included instructions.
  7. Some discomfort following the root canal is normal for 2 to 4 days after the treatment. In some cases the tooth and surrounding tissue may be sore for a few weeks following the treatment.
  8. Normal brushing and flossing are okay, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. Follow any other instructions provided by the office on your visit. Please take all medications as prescribed.

THIS SECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

While flare-ups are rare, they occur in about 5% of the cases and cause significant pain. They occur with teeth that are extremely irritated and/or infected or with teeth that have a history of prior treatment. These sometimes occur randomly, even on patients that have had root canals done in the past without problems. If you have a flare-up you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, throbbing or general discomfort; please contact our office. You may be prescribed additional medication such as antibiotics and/or you may be asked to come to the office for further treatment. Should you experience any of these symptoms, please contact the office, even after hours.