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Are There Different Types of Root Canals?

Posted on February 21, 2018 by Kochevar Endo

Something that a lot of people don’t know is that there are multiple versions of the root canal. When your dentist tells you you will need a root canal, your course of action should be to consult with an endodontist. Why? Because an endodontist, or a root canal specialist, will better be able to tell you what type of root canal you will likely need. So first, what different types are there?

Different Types of Root Canals

Root Canal (Apicoectomy)

Your basic root canal treatment is required when you have a severe cavity that has caused gum damage or tooth decay. It’s important to have your endodontist treat a root canal because they have been performing these specific procedures for many years, and understand the anatomy of your teeth better than a regular dentist. A typical root canal procedure consists of these steps:

  1. The endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. The endodontist places a “dental dam” inside the mouth to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
  2. The endodontist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals, then used to shape the space for filling.
  3. The endodontist fills the root canals with a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored.
  4. After the final visit with your endodontist, you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.


Root Canal Retreatment is the procedure when a previous root canal was performed incorrectly, poorly, or the tooth healed wrong. Typically that means that your curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure, those canal problems weren’t noticed upon the first treatment, the placement of the crown or any other restorative additions were delayed, and finally, the tooth has salivary contamination.

If any of these things have happened, we will need to perform a retreatment of the area and tooth. Here is what you can expect from a retreatment procedure:

  1. Reopening of the tooth and gum area for inspection. Here is where your endodontist will check for infection, poor healing, or any other problems.
  2. Removal of the canal filling that was originally placed by the first root canal treatment. Once the filling is out of the way, the endodontist will be able to clean those canals to gain access to whatever the problem is. Sometimes just cleaning them is all that’s needed.
  3. After cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. If your tooth’s canals are narrow or blocked, you might have to receive endodontic surgery. This surgery involves making an incision to allow the other end of the root to be sealed.
  4. After your procedure you will need to return for another visit to place a crown over your new filling.

Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic tooth injuries consist of:

  • Dislodged tooth
  • Cracked/chipped tooth
  • Broken tooth

Each of these can be treated by a licensed endodontist. If you have a traumatic injury to one or more of your teeth, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your endodontist. You can expect the following from your traumatic injury treatment:

  1. Examination of the tooth to determine best course of action.
  2. If the tooth is simply cracked or chipped then your endodontist can place a crown on the affected area to prevent further damage. Occasionally you will need a crown to protect a larger break or chip.
  3. If the tooth is dislodged, you should follow the steps outlined in this blog. Then visit your endodontist where they will ensure the tooth is replaced properly, or can provide you with a new tooth to take its place.

Hopefully you will never have to deal with any of these tooth injuries or problems. We know how stressful and scary it can be to go in for a root canal or other treatment. That’s why we always advocate for going to a specialist, because they can provide you with extra expertise, and are better equipped to properly take care of your teeth.

Kochevar Endodontics is always prepared to take care of your teeth when you need a root canal or other serious oral procedure. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call if you know you will need a procedure, or if your dentist has recommended you visit a specialist. Our number is 801-282-1651, or you can fill out this form.

Categories: Root Canals

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