Root Canal Therapy in Mahopac

I have a toothache. What does it mean?

Toothaches can mean several different things, but they are most commonly symptoms of a tooth infection. Tooth infections are treated with root canal therapy, and they really aren’t as bad as their reputations claim. These days, root canal therapy is more similar to getting a cavity filled, and receiving treatment will help you get out of pain instead of dealing with the discomfort of an infected tooth.

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Did you know…


About 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or misconceptions.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

call (845) 628-3200 today!

How it works: The root canal treatment process

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Exam & X-Rays

During your appointment, your dentist will perform an  exam and review your x-rays in order to properly diagnose your issue. If it is a tooth infection, the next step is to determine the extent of the infection, and decide whether or not root canal therapy will be effective for treating the problem.

Local Anesthesia & Sedation Options

To start the procedure, your dentist will numb the site, including the nerves of the treatment area, using a numbing needle. You may also opt to receive sedation to ensure you feel comfortable throughout the process.

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

After the inside of the tooth has been cleaned and sanitized, the root canals will be filled with a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” This inert substance replaces the extracted pulp and supports the interior of the tooth to maintain structure.

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Sealing Or Capping The Tooth

Once the interior of the tooth has been filled, it will be restored with either a filling or a dental crown, depending on how much enamel was lost during the procedure.

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 in Mahopac 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. 

Did you know…

Root canals are a simple, common procedure with about 25 million root canals being performed every year.

Think you may need a root canal?

call (845) 628-3200 today!

Have questions about root canal treatment? Find answers here.

What causes a root canal?

You will need root canal therapy if your tooth becomes infected. This happens one of two ways:

  1. A serious cavity can eat away at the outer layers of your enamel and dentin. Eventually, this decay will expose the vulnerable pulp (the material that keeps your tooth alive) to bacteria that causes the infection.
  2. Dental trauma can crack the enamel and dentin, exposing the nerve and blood vessel-filled pulp to oral bacteria.

Regardless of how the infection occurs, the pulp will begin to decay and die once it becomes infected. When this happens, you’ll experience symptoms like a toothache, gum inflammation near the tooth, and tooth sensitivity.

Does root canal treatment hurt?

No. It’s a common myth that root canal therapy hurts when, in fact, it is the toothache caused by the infection that is painful. In modern dentistry, there’s no need for pain. Root canal therapy is similar to receiving a dental filling.

Your mouth will be completely numb during the procedure, and you can even be sedated at our office, if you wish. Getting a root canal is the best way to rid yourself of the pain and discomfort of an infected tooth, which can be very severe.

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

In rare cases, root canal treatment can fail. If not all of the decayed material and bacteria are removed, the tooth infection may come back. If this happens, you’ll come back to our office for endodontic retreatment. Your dentist will re-open your tooth and repeat the root canal process, and ensure that the infection is completely removed.

Do I always need a crown with a root canal?

Not always. Crowns are usually the best way to protect your tooth after root canal therapy, and are recommended for posterior teeth (molars and premolars). However, fillings are sometimes used to fill front teeth. Your dentist will let you know if you need a crown or a filling after your root canal appointment.

Is root canal therapy covered by insurance?

Root canal therapy is usually covered by the vast majority of dental insurance policies to some degree. However, we do recommend that you consult with your insurance provider so that you understand your benefits and which treatments are covered.

Root Canal

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Did you know…

Getting root canal therapy can save you from more invasive procedures, like a tooth extraction.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

call (845) 628-3200 today!