HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Root Canal Quiz
by Staff
If you're like most people, the thought of a root canal and the whirring sounds of dental tools makes you wince. Today's root canal procedures may surprise you, though. Expose the root of your knowledge in our ultimate root canal quiz.

Which of the following is part of the inside of your tooth?

  • crown
  • root
  • pulp

Which part of the tooth is removed during a root canal procedure?

  • root
  • pulp
  • cementum

What type of problem can develop if bacteria and debris are able to get inside a tooth?

  • abscess
  • bone loss
  • all of the above

Which is not a sign that you may need a root canal?

  • severe toothache
  • nasal discharge or postnasal drip
  • tooth discoloration

Which branch of dentistry specializes in treating the inside of the tooth?

  • endodontics
  • orthodontics
  • periodontics

What is the first step in a root canal procedure?

  • tooth canals are cleaned
  • x-rays are taken
  • an opening is drilled into the crown of the tooth

True or false: Tooth extraction is a viable alternative to a root canal.

  • true
  • false

Which of the following is used to fill the empty canal once the pulp has been removed from the inside of the tooth?

  • guayule
  • gutta-percha
  • polyisobutylene

In addition to its use in root canals, gutta-percha has also been used in which of the following?

  • golf balls
  • chewing gum
  • both of the above

What material does gutta-percha turn into when it's heated?

  • plastic
  • gel
  • thick, milky liquid

True or false: A pimple or small sore on the gums may be a symptom of a tooth infection.

  • true
  • false

How many root canals are performed in the U.S. annually?

  • less than 1 million
  • between 5 and 8 million
  • more than 15 million

How many canals does a molar have?

  • 1
  • 1 or 2
  • 3 or 4

With what tool does a dentist measure the size of a root canal?

  • an electric pulp tester
  • a periodontal probe
  • an apex locator

Which of the following is NOT known to cause infection and inflammation of the tooth pulp?

  • repeated dental work on the tooth
  • injury or trauma
  • use of sealants in childhood

True or false: Dentists normally would rather pull a tooth than perform a root canal.

  • true
  • false

Which of the following tools shoots a mild electrical current through a tooth?

  • an electric pulp tester
  • a periodontal probe
  • an apex locator

How long does a root canal take?

  • just one visit
  • usually one to three visits
  • five or more visits

True or false: After a root canal the tooth is dead.

  • true
  • false

Which will not prevent the need for a root canal?

  • wearing a mouth guard while playing sports
  • brushing twice a day
  • tooth whitening

What percentage of root canals are successful?

  • 40 percent
  • 75 percent
  • 95 percent