All You Need to Know About Root Canal

Posted on:

October 26, 2019

If you have a tooth that is fractured, severely decayed, or has an infection (abscess), your dentist may recommend root canal therapy (often the word “therapy” is dropped and the procedure is commonly referred to as just “root canal”). Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of extracting it.

All You Need to Know About Root Canal

What’s Involved in a Root Canal?

Every tooth has a root canal system that houses the blood vessels and nerve fibers of the tooth. The blood vessels and nerve fibers are referred to as the pulp of a tooth. Tooth structure is living tissue so it requires oxygen so that’s why there are blood vessels inside each tooth. The pulp can become infected if you have:

  • A deep cavity that goes to the pulp (the bacteria that creates the cavity is now in the root canal system).
  • A cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Blunt trauma to a tooth causing injury to the blood vessels entering the roots.

If untreated, the tooth can become infected. If this happens, you may develop pain and swelling and an abscess may form in the bone around the end of the root of the tooth. The bacteria in the bone can break down the bone matrix which could lead to loss of the tooth.

John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
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I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
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Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
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Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
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Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
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I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

John Dudley
John Dudley
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I could not be any more fortunate and grateful for Dr. George Orfaly accepting me recently as a new patient! I switched over from my previous provider in a nearby community after receiving subpar care and at risk of losing two teeth. He and the entire team at Fisher & Orfaly Dental have made my transition a smooth and comfortable one, setting me at ease and swiftly on the path to a promising prognosis! I also know that both Dr. Orfaly and Dr. Fisher care a great deal about the community beyond the walls of their practice, too, both quite supportive of local nonprofit and charitable efforts. This all makes me feel wonderful about being a patient, one of the best decisions I've ever made. You and your family should consider switching to Fisher & Orfaly!

William Stewart
William Stewart
January 20, 2022
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Needed a new dentist in Salem, picked Dr. Orfaly by location. I met him before agreeing to my first appointment, and so far, have been very happy. I'm a curious sob, and credit Dr Orfaly for being patient with my atmospheric river of questions. He knows how to relate to patients, and seems to be on top of his game. Highly recommend.

Carol Gray
Carol Gray
October 21, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Everything about my dental experience is professional and considerate.

Peter Gaudreault
Peter Gaudreault
August 5, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

Made you feel comfortable, right from the start. Definitely five stars found my new dentist!

Ed Schutte
Ed Schutte
January 10, 2020
Star-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-ratingStar-rating

I have been a patient of Fisher & Orfaly for many years now. But recently, my whole family moved to the practice. Their approach has always been kind, caring and practical.

What You Should Expect for Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal therapy can take 1 or 2 office visits to complete. Since your dentist will use a local anesthetic (Novocaine), the procedure is typically pain-free.

Before The Treatment Begins, Your Dentist Will:

  • Take X-rays to see the apex of the root and surrounding bone.
  • Numb the area around and including your tooth so you are comfortable during the treatment.

During The Treatment, Your Dentist Will:

  • Create an opening (access to the pulp) through the biting surface of the tooth.
  • Remove the blood vessels and nerve fibers from inside the root canal system of the tooth.
  • Irrigate the root canal system with germ-killing medicine.
  • Fill the root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to seal the apex of the roots.
  • Cover the access with a temporary filling until a permanent filling or crown can be placed.

What Happens After Root Canal Treatment:

  • The tooth and surrounding area may be a little tender for a few days. Your dentist will talk to you about what you can do to lessen the discomfort.
  • Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics due to the nature of the infection.

How Long Will A Tooth That Had A Root Canal Last?

A tooth that has had root canal therapy can last a lifetime. It is always important to maintain good oral hygiene habits and visit your dentist regularly to ensure optimal oral health.


Maura Murphy
Maura Murphy
January 24, 2022
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I was not a fan of going to the dentist! One might say afraid… but thanks to the amazing team at Fisher & Orfaly I am back on track with my 6 month cleanings. The team did an amazing job calming my fears and I can actually say I may even enjoy going to the dentist now! The team is professional, accommodating, and they do a fabulous job cleaning my teeth! I am so grateful that they have me back on track with great dental habits. They certainly have given me something to smile about.

Corbin Bettencourt
Corbin Bettencourt
January 24, 2022
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Who likes to go to the dentist? Fear no more. Dr. Orfaly and his staff provide an environment of ease and professionalism that relieve the jitters that so many feel during visits to the dentist. Whether a routine check up or more complex procedure, our experiences have been most positive.

Jacqueline Traynor
Jacqueline Traynor
May 19, 2021
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I am someone who has been terrified of the Dentist from a very young age, but after seeing Dr. Orfaly and his team over the past couple of months I have 100% gotten over my fears. I have never felt more comfortable and taken care of by the staff. Everyone is so nice and down to earth they make you feel welcome! Dr. Orfaly even came in on a day they were closed because I was having extreme tooth pain, and he totally fixed the problem, I will never forget that. I’m so happy I decided to go to Fischer & Orfaly, best decision I’ve ever made!

Ashley Spencer
Ashley Spencer
April 1, 2021
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Dr Orfaly is the best dentist around! I have alot of anxiety around going to the dentist & Dr Orfaly always makes sure to check in to see how I'm doing & is so nice. If a referral is needed to a specialist, he makes the call for you & gets you an appt quickly (mine was even the same day) I love how they book you with the same dental hygienist for all cleanings.. Adds another level of comfort... Shoutout to mine, Kathy!! 😊

Martina Pena-Martes
Martina Pena-Martes
February 7, 2020
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Before coming to Fisher & Orflay my daughter hated coming to the dentist, she now looks forward to her appointments fully knowing and understanding every procedure being done. They make her visits pleasant each and every time, providing excellent service with the help of their friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Sam Smullin
Sam Smullin
January 22, 2020
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After many years of neglecting my my teeth due to fear of the dentist my dental issues got bad enough that I had no choice but to adress them. I randomly selected Fisher & Orfaly and am very glad that I did. Dr Orfaly did a great job while making sure I was as comfortable as possible.After completing the initial, extensive repairs my mouth looks and feels great. In the 10 years since I first visited I had had no new major work needed. Even better, I can walk into the office without that sense of dread that is familiar to so many people.

Dr. George Orfaly
Dr. George Orfaly, D.M.D.

About the author

Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.

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