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“When you think of a root canal, the first thoughts that come to your mind are probably not so pleasant. But it’s time to change that association.

Modern day root canal procedures are honestly much worse to think about than they are to actually undergo. The idea that root canals are painful and the worst of all dental work is incredibly, (thankfully) outdated. A survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists showed that patients who’ve undergone root canals were six times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than people who had never had one.

It’s all thanks to advancements in technology. Not only do you spend way less time in the chair, there are far fewer risks involved. Root canals are a thing of the past; Dr. John Nusstein, professor and chairman of endodontics at Ohio State’s College of Dentistry, says “it’s not your grandmother’s or your mother’s root canal anymore.”

New anesthetics such as Articaine can penetrate bone and truly deaden the pain of a root canal. Endodontists are also able to provide anesthetics right at the site of the troubled tooth. Using high-tech dental tools that are crafted from nickel-titanium rather than steel means that dentists have more flexibility during the procedure, which allows them to complete treatment quickly—at times, in only 30 minutes.

Root canals have remained a popular procedure, with good reason: keeping your natural teeth is often the best option.”

In the AAE Foundation video above, our own Dr. Andrea Chung Shah describes how research grants from the AAE Foundation works to ensure the growth and development of the science of endodontics, improve the quality of patient care and in this case inform the public about the specialty.

To find out more about the AAE Foundation’s Grant Program, please visit

As Root Canal Specialists, we have always had the challenge of dealing with a major misconception  — that Root Canal Treatment is a painful procedure.  Over the years, we are thankful to see this myth debunked thanks to advances in Endodontics. Increasingly, people are becoming aware that the root canal procedure itself is not painful, and it results in relief of pain from the troubled tooth.

The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago, but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.

Saving Teeth – Quickly and Painlessly

Today, people are more interested in restoring their teeth than losing them.   The research also shows that given the option of saving a tooth versus extraction, 66% choose to save the tooth. That explains why some 40 million root canals are performed annually in the U. S. and root canal procedures boast a 95% success rate, and can last for the life of the tooth, as long as regular check-ups and good oral health are maintained.

Just as it is commonplace to see a cardiologist for a heart condition or an oncologist for a cancer diagnosis, consulting a specialist is crucial for maintaining dental health. Routinely seeing a general dentist is the cornerstone of sustaining a healthy mouth, but for more complex and challenging procedures, such as a root canal, a visit to an Endodontist may be preferable.   According to the AAE, in a L.C. Williams & Associates Research Group poll, 89% of individuals who underwent a root canal by an Endodontist would return to the same specialist for future procedures.

Endodontist specialize in administering anesthesia and using of leading-edge technologies that makes root canal treatments more effective and predictable, resulting in a more positive patient experience.   Furthermore, since a root canal can usually be accomplished in one visit, the procedure can be scheduled to accommodate people’s busy schedules. With anesthesia and modern methods, many people experience little or no pain during a root canal. Most important, as a result of the procedure, the pain a patient was experiencing from the tooth disappears.

At our practice for example, the use of digital radiography and operating microscopes, enable us to uncover previously undetectable problems and dramatically improve the precision and success of every step of the root canal procedure. By harnessing this technology, our Endodontists are able to save teeth that, not so long ago would have been pulled.

Another great advancement we employ is the 3D Cone Beam CT (CBCT), a medical imaging technique that improves diagnostic speed, accuracy and outcome. During a CBCT scan, the scanner rotates around the patient’s head, obtaining up to 600 distinct images. The software collects the data and reconstructs it into 3D anatomical data that can then be manipulated and visualized. Such instant image viewing enables immediate analysis of the case and gives us the ability to graphically show the patient what our treatment plan is – again taking away the mystery and improving the patient’s outcome.

As Endodontists, we regularly deal with emergency treatment and anxious patients.  When a patient appears (usually through a referral) with an emergency, complaining of pain, infection or swelling, our first action is to help reduce anxiety and relieve pain.  As quickly as possible, our compassionate team members administer local anesthetics, and may employ sedation dentistry, using specific drugs designed to calm and relax.

We have always been in the business of saving teeth.  This hasn’t changed.  What has changed are the training, tools and technology available to us – to make root canals a quick and virtually painless procedure.  As thankfully, the public perception of root canal treatment is changing.

In its most recent edition, AAE’s Focus newsletter interviewed Dr. Shah about Journal of Endodontics’ publication of her research.  Dr. Shah describes the grant she got from the American Association of Endodontics Foundation helped fund her work. With the grant money she was able to buy the data sets and data processing capabilities that she needed.

The insights Dr. Shah garnered from her research has lead not only to publication in JoE, but also to coverage in more mainstream channels such as The New York Times and Readers Digest. Among the insights from the study were the correlation between age and insurance type to length of stay and cost of treatment.

This edition of Focus also mentioned Dr. Morgan’s work as an AAE Foundation ambassador. Recently Dr. Morgan visited Tufts in order to educate future dentists about the possibilities provided by AAE.

Recently the journal Endodontic Practice US published an interview with Dr. Peter Morgan and a profile article about our practice.

The article provides an insight into our practice structure and philosophy, and the experiences that helped to shape it.

Click the link below to read the article:


The doctors and guests of North Shore and Brookline Endodontics recently enjoyed a tour and dinner at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead. The event was won by our practice at the Hospice Regatta Auction in June. The event was donated by the Marblehead Museum and Historic Society; Catering provided by Pam Haley and Jane Smith; and case of wine provided by the 2013 Regatta Steering Committee, and Jack Walsh.

Pictured: Doctors Peter Morgan, Yuri Shamritsky, Fiza Singh, Paul Talkov, Andrea Chung Shah, and Andrew Bradley; Practice Manger, Michele Whitley; Directors of The Marblehead Museum and Historical Society, Pam Peterson and Betsy Hundahl.