WHAT are endodoNTISTs, AND WHAT DO THEY DO?
Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy -- procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp. All dentists are trained in diagnosis and treatment of endodontic problems; however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat. That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.
In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING ENDODONTIC TREATMENT?
A local anesthetic will be given. A sheet of latex called the "rubber dam" (we have nonlatex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, keeping it clean and dry during treatment. The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of visits will depend on your particular case. Some treatments take 2 visits, but many are just a single visit. Occasionally 3 appointments are needed.
In any case, it depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty. To me, it's more important to provide the very best treatment possible rather than meet a specific time criteria.
There are, of course, no guarantees. Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success, up to 90%. We will discuss with you the chances of success before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision. If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.
Are Root Canals Safe?
Root Canals have been a safe and effective way to relieve pain, remove infection, and allow people to retain their damaged teeth more many years. While there is never certainty when it comes to medical/dental research, there is no reputible research to show that root canals are dangerous or the cause any systemic medical ailments. Despite what you may have read or on social media, Root Canals are safe.
WILL THE TREATMENT BE PAINFUL?
We will take every measure to ensure that your procedure is in no way uncomfortable. If treatment is needed, we will inject a small amount of anesthesia to gently numb a concentrated area of your mouth. For most patients, the feeling of numbness usually subsides after 2-3 hours.
DO YOU USE NITROUS OXIDE (LAUGHING GAS)?
Yes, all of our rooms are equipped with nitrous oxide. If you are nervous about the procedure please let us know so that we can take the necessary steps to alleviate your anxiety.
Occasionally, oral medications may be required to properly manage severe anxiety.
DO YOU OFFER SEDATION?
We cannot "put you to sleep". While were are able to painlessly treat most of our patients with local anesthetic and Nitrous Oxide, there are some who require a bit more relaxation. For those patients we can prescribe medications that can provide a deeper level of relaxation. Those patients will be required to be escorted by a driver.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY FIRST VISIT?
Your initial appointment will consist of an examination followed by a consultation to explain your diagnosis and treatment options. Occasionally, treatment can be done the same day as the consultation. Please bring your referral slip and any X-rays, if applicable.
Please alert the office if you have a medical condition that may be of concern prior to treatment (i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, artificial heart valves and joints, rheumatic fever, etc.) or if you are on any medication (i.e., heart medications, aspirin, anticoagulant therapy, etc.) or require medication prior to dental cleanings (i.e antibiotics, for pre-med.)
WILL YOU BE TAKING X-RAYS?
In most cases we will have a copy of a relatively recent X-Ray provided to us by your dentist. A number of other X-rays will most likely be required to properly make a diagnosis. This may include a 3-D radiograph (also know as a Cone Beam CT) if your case is especially complex. Please understand that X-Rays are the primary means that endodontists are able to properly evaluate our work. They are an integral part of both the examination and treatment. X-Rays will be taken throughout treatment as well. We will take only those radiographs that are absolutely necessary for proper care and documentation.
WHAT IF I HAVE PAIN AFTER THE PROCEDURE IS COMPLETED?
Some minor pain is to be expected in the 24 hours after treatment. This can normally be controlled with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil. If necessary, we will happily provide you with stronger medication. If your tooth continues to hurt long after the treatment has been completed, please contact the office.
WILL I NEED TO RETURN TO YOUR OFFICE FOR FOLLOW-UPS AFTER THE PROCEDURE IS FINISHED?
Yes, for most root canal treatments, we recommend that patients return to our office at 6 month to 1 year after the procedure was finished. Our office will send a reminder notice to you when you are due for a follow-up appointment.
WILL I NEED TO SEE MY DENTIST FOR FURTHER TREATMENT AFTER THE ROOT CANAL IS COMPLETE?
In most cases you will need to see your general dentist for follow-up care after the Root Canal has been completed. Many teeth will require a crown to protect the tooth from breaking after Endodontic Therapy is performed. In some circumstances our office will be able to provide the final restoration.
What if my root canal doesn't work?
When you are seen in our office we will try to give you a very good idea of what our long-term expectations are for your tooth. All teeth are not created equal and some will not last as long as others. With that being said, if a tooth that was treated in our office fails, then we want to know about it. We stand behind our work and will guide you through the appropriate steps that need to be taken. If a refund is appropriate that can be discussed at the follow-up examination.