Root Canals

When the soft tissue inside your teeth, containing blood vessels and nerves become inflamed or diseased, two treatment choices are available.  In days gone by, the only choice was the removal of the tooth.  Now, the tooth can often be saved with a procedure known as a root canal.

A root canal is a relatively simple procedure, usually requiring three visits to the dentist.  During a root canal, your dentist removes the diseased pulp (soft tissue inside the tooth). The pulp area and root canal of the tooth are cleaned and sealed. The tooth is then filled with a dental material called a composite.  If the tooth has been weakened from extensive decay, the dentist may suggest placing a crown over the tooth to protect it from cracking or breaking.

A tooth restored by a root canal treatment and a crown can last a lifetime, providing regular dental hygiene and dental checkups are continued.

CALL US: (802) 878-5591

The Purpose of a Root Canal 

Once a tooth has fully come through the gums and taken its place among the other teeth, the nerve of that tooth is no longer vitally important.  It’s only purpose, at that point, is to provide the sensation of hot and cold.  Eating, drinking, speaking are not affected by the presence or absence of the nerve and associated soft tissue of the tooth.

When a tooth has a deep cavity or crack in the enamel, bacteria can enter the soft tissue and cause infection inside the tooth.  If the infection is not cleaned out the tooth will begin to hurt and the area around it to swell.  This can injure the jawbone, cause infection or decay in nearby teeth, or even negatively affect your overall health.  Without a root canal, it’s likely the tooth would have to be removed. 

The signs you may need a root canal include: 

  • Pain when you chew
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the tooth or nearby gum area
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Dark discoloration of the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness in the nearby gums

 If you experience any of these, contact our dental office and make an appointment.  We are here to help: (802) 878-5591

Meet Your Dentists

Dr. J. Allen Feeley DDS
Dr. J. Allen Feeley DDS
“I enjoy being able to take care of people on a daily basis, whether it is getting them out of pain, improving their smile, or simply keeping them in excellent dental health. Having practiced over 30 years, I have enjoyed the relationships that I’ve developed with our family of patients.”

Full Biography

Dr. Nathan Makay DDS
Dr. Nathan Makay DDS
“My profession means everything to me. It is what drives me every day and, other than my family, it is what I enjoy the most. Having the opportunity to make people feel better about themselves and their smiles, and to work with people who enjoy it as well, is unexplainable.”

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Dr. Michael L. Gibilisco DMD
Dr. Michael L. Gibilisco DMD
“Some children dream to grow up and become astronauts or cowboys, but I’ve always wanted to be a dentist. Now my profession is my passion and my life. Every day is an adventure and the opportunity to help others is a gift to me.”

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Dr. Jessica Hacker DDS
Dr. Jessica Hacker DDS
“I view myself as an advocate for the patient’s health, not as some sort of Dentistry Dictator. My job is to give patients as many options as possible, explain the differences, and help them make decisions that fit their lives.”

Full Biography

What Sets Us Apart?


The professionals at Essex Family Dental are among the most skilled dental care teams in Vermont. Dr. J. Allen Feeley, Dr. Nathan Makay, Dr. Michael L. Gibilisco, and Dr. Jessica Hacker apply their expertise and consult with one another for the unique benefit of the people they treat.


Your ease at our practice is very important to us, whether that means a comfortable waiting room, painless treatment, or feeling informed about your care. Our doctors are happy to educate you about your treatment options and our staff is always gentle.


Essex Family Dental keeps the most convenient hours, offering appointments until 7pm Monday-Thursday, including morning and afternoon appointments on Friday and Saturday. We also schedule same-day treatment for patients with emergency needs.