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Pacific Endodontics: Root Canal Therapy, GentleWave Therapy, Microsurgery, Bone Grafting and Dental Implants. Monterey CA - Salinas CA


Treatments and Procedures

healthy tooth diagram
What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is a specialty of Dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures. Endodontists are Dentists with special post-graduate training in this field. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose.

Although General Dentists can perform Endodontic treatment, patients are often referred to an Endodontist when the case is complicated or more difficult than usual. Your dentist may also refer you to an Endodntist to determine if your tooth can be saved with Root Canal Therapy or if Extraction is the only viable solution. The additional training of an Endodontist can be critical when determining if a tooth can be saved or should be removed. 


In order to understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth.  Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called Enamel.  Enamel is supported by an inner layer called Dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the Pulp.  The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentin and Enamel during tooth development.  The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root.  Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth.  The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

inflamed tooth diagram
Why would I need Endodontic treatment?
  • Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected.


  • The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. 


  • Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
tooth image
Signs and Symptoms
  •  Indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums.


  • Sometimes there are no symptoms.
  • Once the tooth is cleaned the healing process can begin (see picture to the right)
temp filling tooth
How Can Endodontic Treatment help me?
  • Once the inflamed or infected pulp is removed by the Endodontist, and the canal space has been carefully cleaned and shaped, the canal system is then sealed with gutta percha.


  • The obturation (sealing) of the tooth is there to help foster an environment that favors healing over continued infection or pain. 


  • Although the root canal is sealed, and your treatment is complete, a temporary filling may be in place in the crown portion of the tooth.
tooth post image
I'm done with my Root Canal... Now what?
  • Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for permanent reconstruction.  


  • The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function.
  • To avoid unnecessary complications, the importance of timely followup care with your restorative dentist cannot be stressed enough. 
tooth bone healed image
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
  • Toothache pain is the main reason for patients seeking treatment.  Fortunately, modern anesthetics can make the procedure pain free in most cases. Seeking treatment early makes the procedure more comfortable, so don't wait. 


  • When caught early, treatment should feel no different than having a regular filling.  For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.


  • Sometimes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are recommended for a few days.  Other medications can be prescribed, but they are rarely required. Dr. Appelin prescribes necessary medications on a case by case basis.