CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This month is Save Your Tooth Month, and it’s celebrated by the American Association of Endodontists. One endodontist is working to educate people on root canals.
An endodontist is a root canal specialist.

What You Need To Know

  • It is Save Your Tooth Month

  • The month recognizes the importance of root canals

  • Dr. Sonia Chopra is a root canal specialist and started "E-school," a continuing education program for dentists where they can learn how to perfect their technique

Root canals are often a dreaded dental procedure. But Charlotte endodontist Dr. Sonia Chopra wants to educate people about root canals, saying it’s a simple procedure that can save your natural teeth.

“Good anesthesia really makes for a good root canal,” she said. “It should be an uneventful experience in your life. Just something you have to get through.”

Ballantyne Endodontics says a root canal is much cheaper than pulling a tooth and replacing it with an artificial tooth.

Chopra is no stranger to being in the patient’s shoes. She was born without eight teeth and as a teenager, she developed a really bad tooth pain.

At first, she says her pain was misdiagnosed and the wrong tooth was pulled.

It wasn’t until she was referred to an endodontist that they discovered the root canal she needed and on which tooth.

"It was my endodontist who really saved me,” Chopra said.

That led her to become an endodontist too.

“I was just so intrigued by my own personal tooth story that I decided that this is where I wanted to specialize in dentistry, because I felt like I’ve been there as a patient and it really just sparked my interest,” Chopra said.

After dental school, she had to do a residency to specialize in root canals. She says while general dentists can also perform root canals, they may not have the same training as an endodontist.

“Being in practice for almost 15 years now, I’ve realized there is still a level of education needed among dentists and we get really limited exposure to endodontics and root canal therapy in dental school,” she said.

So, Chopra started what she calls E-School. It’s a continuing education program for dentists where they can learn how to perfect their technique.

"There are not enough endodontists in the world to do all the root canals out there,” she said. “So we need the help of general dentists so we can serve our communities."

In addition to classes, Chopra also offers what she calls E-School Live.

This is a dual purpose community program in which dentists perform root canals under her supervision and patients can get a root canal done for a reduced price.

"Root canals are not scary when done with precision and efficiency,” Chopra said. However, they can be expensive.

According to the AAE, root canal costs can vary depending on the severity of the problem and the tooth affected.

One local dentist office says it can cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. 

During E-School Live, patients receiving the root canal will only pay a registration fee of $100.

Chopra says E-School Live is held at Ballantyne Endodontics, but it is just the facility and has no affiliation with the program itself. General dentists will be the ones performing the root canals, not the endodontists. She will be the supervisor of the program.

To ensure it is safe, she says there are exclusions.

Chopra says the program is not a good fit for children and pregnant patients due to the length of time in the chair.

The program also excludes teeth that are second molars, have crowns on them or have already had a root canal. She says they are still taking patients for their program in June.

To apply, call Ballantyne Endodontist at 704-541-7017 and reference E-School Live. However, Chopra reiterates this is only the facility where the root canal will be performed and has no affiliation with the program.

She says every time they do this event, they donate about $50,000 of free dental care to the Charlotte community.