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Western Nebraska Endodontics

North Platte, NE • Scottsbluff, NE



What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are known as the "root canal specialists."  They are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

root canal
What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal may be indicated for several reasons.  Deep decay, cracks, and trauma all may be causes for root canal treatment.  The nerve tissue may become irreversibly inflamed or die off inside the tooth.  Many times the tooth is asymptomatic and the diagnosis is gained through clinical tests and radiographs.

During the procedure, the patient is thoroughly numbed.  A thin sheet called the "rubber dam" will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, keeping it clean and dry during treatment.  Decay and the inside pulp structure is removed and disinfected.  A rubber-type filling material is placed inside the canals and a temporary restoration is placed.  The patient is then referred back to their dentist for a permanent filling and usually a crown. 

Root Canal Treatment Step by Step Video

painful tooth

The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of visits will depend on your particular case.  Some treatments take two visits but many are just a single visit.  Occasionally three appointments are needed.  In any case, it depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty.

There are, of course, no guarantees.  Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success.  Teeth which can be treated near ideal have a success rate up to ninety percent!  We will discuss with you the chances of success before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.  If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.


Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be maintained with a second endodontic treatment.

Root Canal Retreatment Video


If a previously treated or retreated root canal still is having symptoms or infection, apical surgery may be indicated.  Apical surgery, which is also known as apicoectomy or root end resection/root end fill, is a procedure where the gums are pushed back to gain access to the site of infection.  The tip of the root of the tooth is removed and the infected area is cleaned out.  A filling is put in the root of the tooth to provide a final seal.  Stitches are placed and removed within a week.