What is endodontic (root canal) therapy?

Unless people have had a root canal, many do not know what Endodontics is. Often a person learns about Endodontics when he/she experiences pain, has difficulty eating or chewing, has hot or cold sensitivity, or swelling of the gum. It is typically a visit to the dentist that confirms a root canal problem.

Endodontic treatment is commonly known as root canal therapy. This treatment is performed by removing dying or infected pulp tissues inside the tooth. The procedure helps alleviate pain and prevent infection from occurring or spreading. After treatment has been performed, a crown or other restoration is necessary to protect and restore the tooth to its full function.

Root canal therapy is recommended to save a tooth that would otherwise be extracted. If Endodontic problems are detected early and treated before an infection occurs, healing is usually faster. Ideally, treating a tooth that needs root canal therapy at a calm stage produces better results.

What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists with two to three additional years of advanced specialty education in diagnosis and root canal treatment after receiving their D.D.S. degree.

Endodontists typically practice surgical or nonsurgical root canals exclusively, so they are specialists in this area. They use their special training and experience when treating difficult cases, such as teeth with abscesses; narrow, calcified canals; or unusual anatomy.

Endodontists may also use advanced technology, such as operating microscopes and digital imaging to perform these special services.

Why won’t my dentist perform the root canal?

Some family dentists do perform root canal procedures. However, your dentist feels that your case requires the attention of a specialist.

My tooth is feeling much better after I took the antibiotics. Do I still need treatment?

Unfortunately, though antibiotics are great at calming an infection and the symptoms that accompany it, they will not remove the source of the infection. A root canal treatment is necessary to remove that source.

The good news is that the best time to have an endodontic treatment is when the tooth is in a calm state. The treatment and healing will be easier if your pre treatment pain level is low.

How many visits are required for this treatment?

About 85% of root canal procedures can be completed in one appointment. In some cases, additional visits may be required, depending on the complexity of the procedure.

Our Doctors strongly encourage patients to return for a complimentary follow up visit six months after their completed endodontic therapy. At this visit, Our Doctors will take an x-ray of your tooth to check that the area is healing successfully.

How long will my treatment take?

The length of time scheduled for your treatment will vary depending on the tooth being treated and the treatment (whether surgical or non surgical) recommended for that tooth. Times scheduled normally range between 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Feel free to contact our office for more specific information on your individual needs.

What if endodontic treatment will not work for my tooth?

Endodontic therapy (root canal therapy) has a 93% success rate. However, if your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, Our Doctors will inform you at the time of consultation or when a difficulty becomes evident during or after treatment.

What should I do if I have an emergency when the office is closed?

You will always be able to reach us in case of an emergency. After hours, you may call our office and your emergency message will page our Doctors. You can be assured that your emergencies will be responded to as soon as possible.

Are there any special instructions before my root canal?

If your case indicates that special instructions are needed due to a medical condition, Our Doctors will be sure to advise you of those before your treatment. In most cases, you can treat your root canal appointment as any other dental appointments – you may eat before the appointment as well as plan to drive yourself to and from our office.

What can I expect following a root canal treatment?

Following a root canal treatment, you can expect tenderness in the area that was treated. In most cases, the tooth will likely be sensitive to biting, so our doctors will recommend that you chew on the other side for 3 to 4 days. Usually, Ibuprofen will control any post treatment discomfort. However, you and our doctors may decide to use alternate medication depending on your particular case. You will be able to drive yourself home after your treatment. Most patients may resume their normal activities.

We ask that you call our office in six months to schedule a short visit. Our doctors will take x-rays which will permit them to review the healing progress on your tooth. There is no additional charge for this appointment.