USC University of Southern California

Endodontics

The Endodontic Clinic specializes in the study, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases associated with the roots of the teeth. Endodontic services aim to save the patient’s natural teeth by restoring dental health and function.

Our clinic performs root canal treatment and other procedures to treat the inner tooth and roots and to restore teeth through placement of fillings or crowns.

Residents (dentists in training) provide treatment under the supervision of expert faculty.

Becoming a Patient

The first step in becoming a patient in the Endodontic Clinic is a referral from your dentist. Referrals may be faxed to (213) 740-7064.

All patients are required to present valid photo identification (California driver’s license, California identification card, passport or other government-issued photo identification).

Please also bring your full mouth X-rays to your appointment.

Paying for Your Dental Care

We accept Denti-Cal insurance. Denti-Cal patients must bring their Beneficiary Identification Card (BIC). All other patients must pay with cash or credit card.

Click here for more information about paying for your dental care.

Contact Information

To schedule an appointment, call (213) 740-1545.

Clinic Hours

Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tuesdays open until 7 p.m.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is endodontics?

“Endo” means inside and “odont” means tooth. Endodontic procedures treat the inside of the tooth where the pulp tissue and root canals are located.

2. What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment cares for infected teeth. During a root canal, the blood supply and nerves of the tooth are removed. Then the tooth is usually filled with a material and sealed, or is specially shaped and covered with an artificial tooth (a crown).

3. Why would I need an endodontic procedure?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected because of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Injury to a tooth may cause damage inside the tooth, even if there are no visible chips or cracks. If left untreated, inflammation or infection can cause pain or further damage to the teeth and gums.

4. How do I know whether I need endodontic treatment?

See your dentist if you have:

  • pain
  • long-term sensitivity to heat or cold
  • tenderness when touching your teeth or chewing
  • discoloration of the tooth
  • swelling, drainage and tenderness in your jaw or neck as well as nearby bone and gums

After evaluation by your regular dentist you may be referred to an endodontist. Note, though, that sometimes you can require endodontic treatment when you’ve had no symptoms.

5. How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

The endodontist removes the affected pulp tissue inside the tooth, carefully cleans and shapes the root canals, and then fills and seals the space. The endodontist will then place a filling or crown on the tooth. After restoration, the tooth will function like any other tooth.

6. Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

With modern techniques and anesthesia, most patients are comfortable during endodontic procedures.

For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.

7. Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment?

You should not chew or bite hard things on the treated tooth until treatment is completed with a permanent filling or crown. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.

8. What causes a tooth to need additional treatment?

Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. When this occurs, the endodontic procedure may need to be repeated to save the tooth.

9. Can all teeth be treated?

Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support or the tooth cannot be restored. However, advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth.