Endodontic Care and Root Canals

At Allegheny Health Network (AHN), it’s possible to have a beautiful smile even if you experience a tooth infection or chipped tooth. Our endodontists deliver sophisticated treatments, including root canals and other procedures, to make your teeth healthy again.

What is an endodontist?

Endodontists treat problems inside the tooth. Each tooth has an inner layer of soft tissue (pulp). In children and young adults, the pulp’s blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue nourish teeth as they grow. The pulp remains a part of your tooth after it stops growing.

An endodontist may have to treat problems in your pulp, including swelling and infections, if:

  • Decay spreads deep into your tooth
  • You have an injury that cracks or chips your tooth and affects the pulp

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a common procedure we use to treat an infection in your tooth’s pulp. Getting rid of the infection protects your tooth’s root. And when you have healthy roots, you’re less likely to lose a tooth — even after receiving a blow to the mouth.

Getting a root canal: What to expect

  1. You get medication, so there is no sensation in the part of your mouth your endodontist is working on.
  2. Your endodontist drills through the top portion of your tooth to get to the pulp.
  3. Your endodontist removes the swollen or infected pulp and cleans the inside of your tooth.
  4. Your endodontist replaces the pulp with a rubber-like substance.
  5. A general dentist gives you a filling to help strengthen the inside of the tooth. The filling also seals the opening left after the root canal and lowers your risk of infection.
  6. The general dentist may also recommend a crown to restore the appearance of your tooth.

Root canals and endodontic care at AHN: Why choose us?

At AHN, you receive care from specialists who have years of additional endodontic training after completing dental school. Their experience from performing root canals nearly every day helps more people keep their natural teeth. And keeping your teeth means you are less likely to worry about your appearance or experience chewing problems.

Endodontists are one of many dental specialties available at AHN. Our endodontists work alongside general dentists and other specialists to plan and deliver the treatments you need. Our team approach helps you get personalized services that preserve your smile.

Timely, coordinated dental care at AHN

In addition to endodontic services, you may receive:

  • Care from a general dentist: Along with our endodontists, many of our dentists successfully perform root canals. After a root canal, a general dentist can also seal the tooth and may decide to strengthen it with the help of a crown. Your general dentist already knows your care preferences, allowing us to tailor services to meet your needs. If you are anxious, you may be able to receive sedation with nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Read more about general dentistry.
  • Emergency care: An injury that chips or cracks your tooth may be a dental emergency. Our general dentists treat many emergencies the same day. You may receive a root canal or other treatments to preserve your tooth until you can see an endodontist. We also provide after-hours emergency care, if needed.

Other endodontic treatments we offer

In rare cases, a root canal is not successful. When this happens, you may experience symptoms such as pain or teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold.

We help you get lasting relief with other treatments that may include:

  • A second root canal: We access the pulp and clean out the inside of the tooth again. Then we fill it with a rubber-like substance.
  • Apicoectomy: During this procedure, we remove the tip of your tooth’s root and seal the tooth with a filling. You may need an apicoectomy if we find infected tissue at the tip of the root or in the surrounding bone after your root canal.
  • Tooth extraction: If we cannot save your tooth, we numb your mouth with medication before removing it.
  • Dentures or implants: After healing from an extraction, a general dentist replaces the missing tooth with an artificial one. Your options include:
    • Bridges, which are devices that hold an artificial tooth in place by attaching to healthy teeth on either side
    • Dentures, which sit above the gum line
    • Implants that connect to metal posts we attach to your jawbone during a surgical procedure

Contact us

Call (412) 359-3685 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN dental medicine services.