Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with tissues and structures located inside the tooth. One of the most common endodontic treatments is root canal therapy, a procedure which effectively eases the pain associated with a bacterial infection deep within the pulp of the tooth. Of course, root canal treatment doesn't just relieve pain — it also stops the infection by removing dead and dying tissue from the tooth's pulp. Plus, it helps to save the tooth, which is in danger of being lost if left untreated.

Yet root canal therapy isn't the only treatment endodontics offers. This field also deals with cases of dental trauma, performs microsurgery on the tips of the tooth's roots, and even helps figure out what's going on when tooth pain seems to come and go intermittently, or when the pain isn't localized at one tooth. So when it comes to preserving your natural teeth, endodontics has plenty of ways to help.

The Inside Story

Healthy Tooth.What's inside your teeth? Behind the tough, shiny enamel of the tooth's visible crown lies the sturdy inner tissue called dentin. Dentin is also found behind the cementum that forms the outer layer of the tooth's roots — in fact, it makes up the bulk of the tooth's structure. Similar in many ways to bone tissue, dentin is composed of many tiny tubules which can transmit sensations to nerve cells when it is stimulated.

At the core of the tooth, inside small, branching chambers called the root canals, we find the soft pulp tissue. This consists of nerves, connective tissues and blood vessels which extend into the center of the tooth and exit through canals near the apex (tip) of the tooth's roots. When problems (such as infection and inflammation) develop in the pulp tissue, your first indication of trouble may be tooth sensitivity — or intense pain. In time, as the nerves die, the pain may go away… but the problem won't. In fact, if left untreated, the end result may be tooth loss.

The “Root” of the Problem

Root canal treatment.What could cause the pulp tissue to become diseased and lead to root canal problems? One potential source of infection is untreated tooth decay, which can allow bacteria from the tooth's surface to work its way deep inside. A crack or fracture in a tooth could offer another pathway for microorganisms to infect the pulp.

Dental trauma — from a sports injury, for example — may also damage dentin or pulp, or expose it to infection. Extensive dental procedures (such as multiple fillings or restorations on the same tooth) may cause trouble; occasionally, even routine procedures like orthodontics may eventually lead to root canal problems.

Endodontic Treatment

The old gag line “I'd rather have a root canal” may still get a laugh — but root canal problems are no joke. It's important to remember that root canal treatment doesn't cause pain; it relieves pain. A typical root canal procedure is performed with local anesthetics, and doesn't cause any more discomfort than having a filling. Here's what to expect:

First, you will receive anesthesia (usually a numbing shot) — and for many patients, the worst is now over. Next, a small opening is made in the tooth surface to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Then, tiny instruments are used — often with the aid of a microscope — to remove dead and dying tissue from inside the narrow passages. These passages are then cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a safe, inert material. Finally, the opening in the tooth is sealed to prevent contamination.

Other endodontic treatments may be recommended for removing sources of infection and preventing future problems. Following an endodontic procedure, it may be necessary to have a restoration (such as a crown) placed on the tooth to restore it to full function and aesthetic appearance. After that, with proper care the restored tooth should last for many years.

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  • "As weird as it sounds, I truly enjoy my time here and love that I always leave having learned something new! Dr. Moody and his wife, Jill, are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They truly care about their patient’s well being. You can’t help but feel at home and most importantly, at ease when you’re in his chair. I am beyond thankful to have found Anchor Dental and look forward to the years ahead."
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  • "Love love love Anchor Dental!! Dr Moody and his team are the best I’m so happy to have found them!! They helped me out so much with my teeth and educated me on preventative techniques to help with my Recessive gum line and loss of bone. They are always super nice and treat you like family. It took me along time to find a good dentist that I can trust since moving to Anchorage and now that I found Anchor Dental I’m very happy.

    I’m appreciate all they do for me and I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone looking for a dentist who will go above and beyond!!"
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  • "Dr. Moody and his team are the best that I ever been too. Today on February 17, 2021, my kiddos and I have an appointment ."
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  • "As always, my visit to Anchor Dental was great. I was there for a cleaning and I was very happy with my result."
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  • "Anchor Dental is fantastic. Atmosphere was awesome the husband & wife team was impressive. ,& their love, life story restored my faith in humanity."
    Tagaloa F.
  • "This dental office is fantastic! The hygenist was amazing and took her time cleaning my teeth really well. I have some sensitivity so they provided me with the comfort of some numbing gel. I was very comfortable and happy with my appointment. Dr. Moody is an excellent dentist. He bonded with my fiance while he was waiting for me and seems they had a good chat! All staff was amazing - Especially Miranda!"
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  • "Dr. Moody was awesome, and made sure that I wouldn't be in any pain. He and his assistant were singing along to the songs playing and were silly enough to take some of the anxiety of having some extractions done away. I'd certainly recommend him."
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  • "The staff at Anchor Dental is amazing! They are so friendly and professional, even my children enjoy going to the dentist!!"
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  • "As always I was very pleased with my visit to Anchor Dental. The staff is really nice, efficient and professional. They really know what they are doing. Everything is explained to you and Dr. Moody is great."
    Caren A.
  • "Dr. Moody has been my dentist for the past few years. He has helped me eat better through molding and ordering partials. Also, he has a caring staff that really listens to my concerns. I will always recommend friends, family and colleagues to him for the best dental care. Just got a temporary crown, and almost no pain!"
    David S.
  • "I am very pleased with my experience here because I did not see a dentist for years and they made it very pain free and comfortable. The personable and outgoing happy people made it even better."
    Nina J.
  • "5 stars all around. I am glad I found this place and will definitely be recommending this to friends and family."
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  • "I have found Anchor Dental to be a highly professional organization staffed with exceptionally qualified and skilled personnel. All of the staff from the front desk, technicians, and optometrists are personal, friendly, and efficient in meeting your needs. Ben Crawford is a go to optometrist."
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  • "I was pretty nervous about getting my wisdom teeth pulled but Dr. Moody made it a blast and fly by. They take my insurance too so I will be coming back for my regular teeth cleanings! :D"
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  • "Walking in you are greeted with a smile. The office staff is more than helpful when needed. Dr Moody has eased my nerves and I now feel comfortable when I need work done. Everyone is very friendly."
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    Kelly S.
  • "Dr. Moody is the best and most genuine dentist professional I have ever been too. I will say that even after I move out of state, I will fly back just for my dental care."
    Donald J.
  • "I wasn't able to get in for the cleaning I was scheduled for but was able to still have an exam & X-rays. Dr. Moody talked with me extensively about my teeth, dental health, & future care. He answered all the questions I had & I never felt rushed. I would highly recommend Dr. Moody & his staff at Alaska Dental Arts."
    Marion J.
  • "I walked into this dental office and immediately felt warm and cozy. They have an amazing and caring staff that will go out of their way to assist you any way that they can."
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