Patient Info

Your Visit
Financial Info
Root Canal Myths

Your Visit

Your first visit at Canberra Endodontics will involve meeting our friendly staff, followed by an examination (~30 minutes) where information will be gathered and tests will be performed to diagnose the problem. The endodontist will check both your medical and patient history to ascertain and provide the correct treatment options, which will then be discussed with you. All treatment information including expected success rates, timescale involved and expected numbers of visits, costs of treatment, as well as likely restorative care required at your GDP to protect the tooth will be outlined to allow you to decide whether to proceed with treatment.

Unless you request otherwise at the time of scheduling, treatment (~45-90 minutes) will usually begin immediately following the examination. You will often have one or more visits after this where the root canal treatment is finished and a support structure is put in place until you return to your general practitioner where a crown will be placed on the tooth, if needed. You will be given information and guidance on how to look after you dental health after each stage of root canal treatment.


  • All patients under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
  • If you require antibiotic premedication prior to dental treatment due to artificial joints, heart defects, or another medical condition, please ensure you have the necessary prescription and take as prescribed before your appointment.
  • If you require stronger sedatives i.e. valium, penthrox, please ensure you have a designated driver to take you to and from your appointment. Please contact us for more information on our sedative options.

Preparing for Your Visit:

  • Please bring your referral form if it was provided by your dentist.
  • Please bring a form of picture identification and your dental insurance card, if applicable.
  • Patient registration forms can be completed at our office or you may download them here and bring the completed form to your appointment.
  • For your health and safety, please provide an accurate and complete medical history.  This should include a list of the name, dose, and reason for taking any medication (prescription, over-the-counter, herbal, or nutritional supplement).

General Instructions:

  • Since your treatment will be completed using local anaesthesia, there are no restrictions related to food or liquids prior to your visit.  Eat normally and take all medications as prescribed by your physician without altering your normal routine.
  • If a surgical procedure is performed, please make arrangements to rest from normal activities (e.g., work, other responsibilities, exercise, etc.) for 24 hours.
  • Good oral hygiene speeds recovery and improves healing results.  Please brush and floss thoroughly immediately before your visit and maintain good hygiene thereafter

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Please call (02) 6162 1676 to ask questions, share your comments, or schedule an appointment.

Office hours:  Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Saturday, 8:00am – 1:30pm.

After hours number: 0411036026

We will schedule your visit as promptly as possible.  If you have swelling caused by an infected tooth or severe pain, you will usually be seen within 24 hours to start treatment and provide relief of your symptoms.

Because we provide emergency and surgical services, a variety of circumstances can alter the time allotted for treatment.  We do our best to treat you at the appointed time and to minimize your wait.  If we foresee events that may alter our ability to provide timely treatment, we will keep you informed.  We appreciate your understanding, patience, and flexibility.

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Financial Info

Treatment fees vary depending on the complexity of the problem and which tooth is affected.  In most cases, root canal treatment and proper restoration of your natural tooth is less expensive than alternatives that remove the diseased tooth and replace it with an artificial tooth.  Preserving your natural tooth usually takes less time, results in fewer complications, and looks more natural compared to alternative treatment options.  Nothing looks, feels, or functions quite like your natural tooth.

For your convenience, we accept cash, cheque, Visa and MasterCard. Payment in full is due at the time services are rendered unless other written arrangements are made in advance.

Please call our office if you would like more specific information about your particular situation.  Using information provided by your referring dentist, we can usually give you a good estimate of the cost of your treatment. Because specialists are experts in their field and they treat conditions that are much more complex, fees for service are typically higher (~20%) than that offered by a general dentist.  By seeing a specialist to treat your condition, you significantly increase the chances of a successful outcome and typically will save time and money in the long run.


  • If you have dental insurance, our practice manager will work with you to maximize your insurance reimbursement for covered procedures. Since insurance companies do not guarantee the accuracy of the estimates they provide, we cannot guarantee their estimate and you should consider their estimate as only a guideline until the final insurance payment is received.
  • The benefits provided by your insurance plan were negotiated between your employer and your insurance carrier.  Different employers select different plans and it is important that you read the information provided by your insurance carrier to understand what benefits they provide for endodontic treatment.

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Why has my dentist sent me to a registered specialist endodontist?

  • An endodontist completes a minimum of an additional 3 years study in an accredited endodontics post graduate program. This means that in addition to performing routine root canal and tooth pulp treatments, the endodontist has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions.
  • These include diagnosing and relieving orofacial pain, treating traumatic injuries to teeth and retreating previously unsuccessful root canal fillings under an operating microscope.
  • This means there is a higher success rate and ultimately maintains your ability to chew and function while keeping your smile intact and of course, your tooth is not lost!
  • Dr. Loftus works as quickly as possible within the technical and biological limits. He has completed over 5000 root canal procedures, including his Dad’s so you are in good hands.

Will it hurt?

  • The procedure will be pain free due to advances in local analgesia and anaesthesia. If you are anxious please let us know as we have a range of sedation options. Some discomfort when the numbness wears off is normal and easily managed by over the counter painkillers. If you are in discomfort following treatment, please contact us, not your general dentist as we have treated you.

How much will it cost?

  • At Canberra City Endodontics we pride ourselves on being honest and transparent on pricing. Our consultations are FREE OF CHARGE where treatment is initiated on the same day. We charge for treatment based on time required to complete the procedure, so please don’t be late! We will give you the relevant codes so you can claim a rebate from your private health insurance.

How many visits are needed?

  • Dr. Loftus works without compromise and gives as much time as is needed to complete the job to his and your satisfaction. Generally (90% of cases) two visits are required – one to disinfect, prepare and place medication and a second visit to review and complete your treatment. Occasionally due to unusual anatomy / significant infection pathology, a further appointment may be required. This will depend on your general health and the condition of the tooth within the bone.

Will I need to see my general dentist afterwards?

  • Yes! You will need to schedule a crown appointment with your general dentist usually 2 months after the root canal procedure. Please book this in advance as most of our referring dentists have long waiting lists for this procedure. The further back a tooth is in the mouth, the more urgent the crown is to prevent a fracture of the tooth. Some front teeth especially lower incisors do not need a crown after root canal treatment.

Can I take a painkiller before my appointment?

  • Yes, if you and your referring dentist agree over which tooth is to be treated, you can take painkillers 40 mins before your appointment and this will help. If there is uncertainty over which tooth is causing symptoms, DO NOT take a painkiller as this will interfere with the special diagnostic tests.

How successful is root canal treatment?

  • Root canal treatment is a proven and predictable procedure. Teeth that are extracted following root canal treatment usually have other problems such as gum disease, tooth decay or cracking of the root. A failure to get the tooth crowned after root canal treatment is the most common reason for extraction. Even within these constraints, only 1% of root canal treated teeth fail per year and if you see a specialist endodontist the success rates are even higher!

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Root Canal Myths

Myth:  Root canal treatment is painful.

  • Truth: Root canal treatment relieves pain.  Damaged tissues inside the tooth can cause a severe toothache.  Root canal treatment removes these damaged tissues from inside the tooth to relieve pain and infection.  Thanks to advancements in anesthetics and treatment techniques, the overwhelming majority of patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.  For the first few days after treatment, the tooth often feels sensitive, especially if pain or infection was present before the procedure.  This discomfort is usually well-controlled with over-the-counter pain medications.  After one week, only 5% of patients report discomfort is still present and they rate their pain level as mild.

Myth:  Root canal treatment causes illness.

  • Truth: Root canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure that promotes healing of inflammation and infection in teeth and the surrounding tissues.  A very small number of physicians and dentists claim that endodontically-treated teeth contribute to diseases in other parts of the body.  These claims are based on outdated and poorly-performed research with questionable results likely caused by poor sanitation and imprecise research techniques.  Multiple well-conducted studies show that people with root canal treatment are no more likely to be ill than people without them.  Bacteria are present in the intestines, the mouth, and the teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity, trauma, or root canal treatment.  Root canal treatment greatly decreases the number of bacteria present in infected roots and promotes healing of infected tissues surrounding teeth that could cause serious health problems if left untreated.

Myth:  The roots of my teeth are removed during root canal treatment.

  • Truth: During root canal treatment, inflamed or infected tissues are removed from the tunnels or canals in the center of your tooth.  If the roots were removed, your tooth would not remain in place in your mouth.  Root canal treatment involves disinfecting the central core of your tooth.

Myth:  A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

  • Truth: Saving your natural tooth, if possible, is usually the best option.  In most cases, root canal treatment and proper restoration of your natural tooth is less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted and replaced by an artificial tooth.  Preserving your natural tooth usually takes less time, results in fewer complications, and looks more natural compared to alternative treatment options.  Nothing looks, feels, or functions quite like your natural tooth.  Root canal treatment has a very high success rate, often exceeding 90%, particularly when performed by an endodontist.  When endodontically-treated teeth are properly restored, usually with a core foundation and crown, they can last as long as your other natural teeth.

Myth:  Dental implants are a better option than root canal treatment.

  • Truth: In 2011, a survey was conducted of two groups of patients- the first had endodontic treatment while the second had dental implants.  Both groups of patients expressed a preference to keep their natural tooth if at all possible.  Research comparing root canal treatment to implants shows no difference in long-term success rates between the two options.  Interestingly, most studies looking at outcomes following root canal treatment involve more rigorous criteria for healing than do studies of implants.  For example, root canal treatment is considered successful when bone is either regenerated or does not resorb whereas with implant treatment, a certain amount of bone loss is allowed for cases that are considered successful.
  • Research with implants often involves carefully selected groups with few health complications and the implants are usually placed by specialists.  In contrast, most studies on root canal treatment do not exclude patients with health complications and the treatment is often completed by general dentists or even dental students rather than specialists.  Despite these important differences in study design, both treatment options enjoy a success rate greater than 90%.  However, implant treatment usually takes longer, results in more complications, and costs more than root canal treatment followed by proper restorative treatment (usually a crown).
  • Although dental implants cannot decay like your natural teeth, bacteria that cause disease in your mouth can invade implant surfaces and cause the tissues around the implant to become inflamed and/or infected.  Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is essential with dental implants just as it is with your natural teeth.

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