If an infection reaches the innermost core of a tooth called the dental pulp, it can cause considerable pain and possibly present several oral health problems. In such situations, you may need root canal therapy to remove the diseased pulp and bacteria, avoid the necessity for extraction, and protect your other teeth. At Dental Arts of Boston, our Boston, MA, restorative dentist, Dr. George Stevens, offers safe and comfortable root canal treatments to restore the optimal function of your affected tooth.

Why Get Root Canal Therapy?

If bacteria reach the soft dental pulp at the core of your tooth, the infection can travel down the roots, spread to adjoining teeth, and wear down the supporting jawbone. If the tooth infection is left untreated, extraction and replacement may ultimately be necessary. Luckily, a root canal treatment will help eliminate infection at its source and re-establish oral health and function.


Most of us have a false belief that a root canal treatment is a painful experience. On the contrary, it’s much more comfortable than suffering from a toothache. Additionally, as the pulp’s sensitive nerves are removed during the endodontic procedure, you can expect instant relief. 

Benefits of Root Canal Therapy

Getting a root canal offers many advantages over tooth extraction:
  • Saves Your Natural Tooth — A root canal helps avoid extraction and preserves your smile.
  • Prevents Bone Loss — Removing a tooth can cause the jawbone to deteriorate over time. A root canal stops this bone loss.
  • Maintains Your Bite — Keeping your natural teeth intact helps sustain proper biting and chewing function.
  • Restores Tooth Appearance — With a crown placed after the root canal, the tooth can look natural again.
  • Cost Effective — Extracting then replacing a tooth with an implant or bridge costs significantly more over your lifetime.
  • Provides Pain Relief — A root canal promptly relieves pain from an infected tooth.
  • Low Risk — Root canal treatment is a safe procedure with predictable outcomes when done by an endodontic specialist.
  • High Success Rate — Over 90 percent of root canals are successful and long-lasting with proper follow-up care.

Common Signs You May Need a Root Canal

You may need a root canal procedure if you have:
  • Toothache
  • Persistent foul breath or taste
  • Gum or jaw swelling
  • Tooth sensitivity to temperature changes
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes
  • Pus discharge
These are not always the apparent symptoms associated with an infected tooth. That’s why routine dental checkups and cleanings are vital for detecting any potential problems at Dental Arts of Boston. To conclude whether root canal therapy is appropriate for your condition, our dentists will evaluate the extent of the damage. An extraction may be the last option if the infection or decay is too severe.

The Root Canal Process

Root canal therapy is generally completed in two appointments. Our restorative dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the affected area to begin the procedure. Next, he’ll drill a tiny opening in the tooth and remove all the diseased soft tissues at the tooth’s core, including the nerves and blood vessels. He’ll then use a medicated solution to meticulously clean and disinfect the inside of the tooth. The canals and the pulp chamber are packed with a rubbery dental material called gutta-percha, and the tooth is sealed with a filling to avert reinfection.


You may expect some sensitivity following root canal therapy. These side effects are temporary and should ease within a few days. In the meantime, any discomfort can be managed with pain medication. Finally, a dental crown is provided to strengthen and protect the treated tooth fully.

Root Canal Aftercare

To ensure the long-term success of your root canal treatment:
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics as directed to prevent infection
  • Rinse with warm salt water to promote healing
  • Avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth
  • See your dentist promptly if you notice swelling, pain, or other issues

Frequently Asked Questions

▼How long does a root canal take?

Most root canal treatments take one to two appointments of 60-90 minutes each. The first appointment involves removing the pulp and cleaning/shaping the canal. The second appointment entails sealing and filling the canal.

However, the duration can vary significantly based on factors like the number of root canals, anatomy, infection level, and accessibility of the tooth. Complex procedures may require additional appointments.

▼Is a root canal painful?

With modern techniques and anesthesia, most patients report little to no pain during or after the procedure. Any minor discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

▼How long does a root canal last?

With proper care, a root canal can last for many years or even a lifetime. Factors like gum health, oral hygiene practices, type of restoration, and biting forces impact longevity. With a suitable filling and crown, a root canal tooth can often last as long as your other natural teeth.

Restore Your Smile with Root Canal Therapy

Don’t live with tooth pain or risk losing your natural teeth. To learn more about our root canal treatments, call us at (617) 266-0441 or visit our office at 126 Marlborough St, Boston, MA 02116.

You can also request an appointment right here online and schedule a consultation with our dentist, Dr. Stevens. We proudly serve the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Brookline, Revere, MA, and the surrounding metro area.