Stanford Dental
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Root Canal Therapy

How can we help you?

Do you have questions about your oral health or your treatment recommendations? That is excellent, because you should ask questions about your health!

At Stanford Dental, we consider ourselves your partners, and we’re here to help you make the right decisions for your dental needs. We welcome any questions you have, and we’re happy to answer them.

We’ve gathered a list of some of the questions that we hear the most and provided the answers for you here. If you don’t see your question, we encourage you to call our office and talk with one of our knowledgeable staff members.

Root Canal Therapy


Dr. James Stanford prides himself on giving his patients the most comfortable experience he can when they come into his office. This is no different whether you are coming in for a routine cleaning or scheduled for a root canal therapy appointment. Dr. Stanford typically performs his root canals in two appointments. A root canal is needed when either decay enters into the tooth's nerve and/or there is trauma to the tooth.

First Root Canal Appointment

At the first appointment, Dr. Stanford will use his special technique to numb his patients to minimize pain. This technique has been frequently raved about by his patients and on his reviews. After his patients are completely numb and comfortable, he will enter the tooth and remove the nerve of the tooth. Dr. Stanford usually explains this to patients by comparing removing the nerve like removing the lead from a pencil. This will prevent any future pain or worst case scenario, the loss of the tooth.

Typically, Dr. Stanford will wait 3-7 days to have his patient return for their follow-up visit. This will give the tooth time to calm down after the first appointment, so the patient is as comfortable as possible to finish their procedure. At the next appointment, Dr. Stanford will either fill or crown the tooth. If your tooth already has a cap on it and the crown is in good condition, then Dr. Stanford likes to preserve that crown, while saving you money, and just fill in the portion that was removed to complete the root canal.

Placing a Build-up Crown

If your tooth does not currently have a crown or if the crown is not savable, then Dr. Stanford will place a build-up and crown on the root canaled tooth. After a root canal is performed,  the tooth becomes very brittle since there is no longer a blood supply or nerve. This is why it is very important to finish a tooth canal with a build-up and crown because the tooth needs extra support so it does not break. This will give your tooth the extra strength it needs to preserve your smile. Our goal is to help our patients keep as many as their natural teeth as possible throughout their lifetime. 

If you are experiencing pain or have been told you need a root canal, Dr. Stanford would love the opportunity to restore you back to health!

After you have completed a root canal procedure, it then becomes important to protect your new investment. It is also important to start restoring your teeth back to health within two to four weeks after a root canal is completed and is feeling comfortable again. Following the root canal procedure, your tooth will become less resilient to withstand the force that occurs during chewing and especially if you are prone to clenching and grinding of the teeth. That is why for the back teeth and often the front teeth,  a crown will be recommended. Depending on the amount of remaining tooth structure a proper filling will be placed in order to provide a solid foundation for your beautiful new crown or cap. The filling which is often referred to as a build up or a post and build up will be determined by how much tooth structure remains after all decays is removed. If there is sufficient tooth structure to support your new crown, a buildup is needed. However, if there is not enough remaining tooth structure, a post can be placed into one of your root canal spaces to gain more support from within your tooth. Then a build up is placed around your post and the tooth is prepared and shaped for you new crown. 

If your tooth has no present cavities and the crown fits your tooth well or if the root canal was performed on a front tooth that has no large previous fillings, a simple filling may be all that is needed to properly seal up your tooth and protect your new root canal from bacteria and re-contamination. Our goal at Stanford Dental is to provide you with a beautiful long lasting smile. As a final note, if you have a tendency to clench or grind your teeth, remember a properly restored root canaled tooth is still not as strong as its natural predecessor. That is why we will recommend a protective mouth guard for night time wear. 


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