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(703) 291-3111

Ballston Dental Arts
900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

Root Canal: What Is It?

If the pulp or soft tissue in a tooth gets infected, becomes exposed because of decay or is injured, you’re likely to experience quite a bit of pain. It can even make chewing intolerable. Endodontic surgery or dental root canal treatment can provide relief by clearing out the affected tissue.

When Is an Endodontic Procedure Necessary?

Infected or damaged pulp can’t repair itself. When you’re faced with extreme pain, you could have a tooth that needs root canal surgery. Some of the symptoms include:

  • pain that disrupts your sleep;
  • mild to severe pain that’s persistent;
  • discoloration or cavities deep in your tooth;
  • touch, heat or cold sensitivity;
  • pain when you bite down; and
  • swelling in the gums around the affected tooth.

What Are the Types of Root Canals?

The most-used endodontic therapy is a molar root canal. The procedure is effective for any affected teeth, including your front ones. If the treatment doesn’t succeed, an alternative therapy called an apicoectomy allows dentists to remove the root tip of the affected tooth. For children, a pediatric pulpotomy is an alternative that cleans diseased pulp but leaves the nerves intact.

Which Dentists Can Perform Endodontic Treatment?

In many cases, dental patients don’t need a special root canal dentist, formally called an endodontist. A general dentist can perform the procedure. You may only need an endodontist if your situation is complicated or if you need further treatment. Call us to schedule an appointment with a skilled dentist qualified to perform root canals.

What’s the Endodontic Therapy Process?

The root canal procedure takes just one or two hours at our office. Below are the steps for the process:

  1. The affected tooth is numbed with an anesthetic to prevent you from feeling pain.
  2. We isolate the tooth and keep the area clean by inserting a small shield.
  3. The dentist opens the tooth crown to gain access to the pulp chamber.
  4. We clean out the pulp and shape the canals using special instruments.
  5. The dentist uses a fluid to disinfect the canals and remove remaining debris.
  6. We use gutta-percha, a rubbery substance, to fill the canals and then seal them.
  7. The dentist uses a root canal crown to cap the tooth to avoid more decay or fracturing.

Is the Recovery From Root Canals Painful?

A dental root canal may sound painful, but local anesthetic keeps you comfortable throughout the treatment. If you have tooth pain or other symptoms afterward, don’t put yourself at risk. Call our dentists for a follow-up and to get relief.

How Much Are Root Canals?

The root canal cost isn’t the same for everyone. The price depends on the severity of the damage, the preparation treatments needed, and whether or not seeing an endodontist is necessary. The number of roots that need to be cleaned affects the cost too. Front teeth tend to have only one root, so they’re cheaper to treat than molars that typically have four roots. Your out-of-pocket cost will be impacted by your insurance as well. Make an appointment so that we can assess your tooth and provide an estimate.

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Office Hours

  • Monday 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM


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Office Hours

  • Monday
    9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday
    7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday
    7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Thursday
    7:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Appointment request

New patients are welcome! To request an appointment use our online form or call:

(703) 291-3111

Our Location

Ballston Dental Arts

900 N Taylor Street, Suite 150, Arlington, VA 22203

(703) 291-3111