Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth, committed to helping you maintain your natural smile for a lifetime. Typically, root canal specialists have two or three years of additional education to become experts in performing root canal treatment and diagnosing and treating tooth pain.
Endodontists only focus their practice on endodontic treatments while general dentists perform a broader spectrum of dental procedures. We also see the most difficult cases on a consistent basis, such as curved canals, calcified canals, or retreatment cases. Constant exposure to these complicated cases is very valuable in being able to offer the best treatment possible to our patients.
Our equipment is more sophisticated than what a general dentist usually has. Our specialized equipment helps us to have a precise and predictable result. A good example of this is our high-powered surgical microscope that gives us a one-of-a-kind view of your tooth.
The speed at which we will be able to complete your procedure will be much faster than a general dentist’s simply because we do so many root canals a day. Most procedures are done in an hour or less and only take one appointment.
No, it is not necessary to have a referral from your dentist, but if your dentist gave you one please bring it with you.
Most teeth can be saved by performing root canal treatment. However, some special conditions, such as a fracture or lack of bone supporting the tooth, may lead the endodontist to recommend alternative treatments.
Sometimes teeth that need root canals are not painful. When the pulp dies the tooth can be asymptomatic for a long time before it becomes a problem. Also, slow chronic infections tend not to be as painful as acute ones. The tooth will eventually become painful because the pulp is infected. Delaying treatment could result in a dental emergency and those usually happen at the most inconvenient time.
Antibiotics are very good at fighting an infection and making you feel better while you take them. The problem with antibiotics is that they do not eliminate the source of the infection, which is the infected pulp tissue inside of your tooth. The only way to eliminate infected pulp tissue without an extraction is by doing a root canal.
After the pulp of a tooth is infected or it has irreversible nerve damage, the only alternative to endodontic treatment is extraction of the tooth. Once the tooth is extracted it must be replaced with either an implant or bridge to prevent shifting of adjacent teeth and to restore proper chewing function. Implants or bridges to replace a missing tooth can be far more costly and time consuming than root canal treatment followed by restoration of the tooth.
Extraction is always a treatment option, however there are many negative side effects such as less teeth to chew with, having your other teeth shift, and the high cost of filling that missing space if you decide to repair it in the future. We always recommend keeping your natural tooth if it is possible.
Many studies have shown root canals have a success rate of 95-97%. Studies show that success rates of root canals are significantly higher when performed by an endodontist compared to a general dentist.
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. For information on insurance coverage please go to our Insurance Info section.
The majority of cases are completed in a single visit. Few cases need medication and require two visits to complete the case.
Do I need to stop my blood pressure medication or any other medications before coming in for a root canal?
No, you should take your medications as directed, unless indicated differently by your endodontist during the consult visit.
Your comfort is our primary concern. We anesthetize the tooth in the same way your general dentist would when placing a filling. Most patients tell us that the root canal was easier than some fillings they have had in the past.
No.The root stays intact. It is actually the nerves and blood vessels inside the root that are removed during a root canal.
Your canals are sealed with a biocompatible material called “gutta percha”. This is a rubber-like material that we can mold to fit each individual canal space.
Yes, we offer nitrous oxide in our office to our patients upon request.
An injection with local anesthetic before any root canal procedure is always needed to numb the tooth. The “laughing gas” is given to alleviate your anxiety. It is also an analgenic which means that is helps alleviate pain.
Some patients do fall asleep with nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” but not always. It has a very relaxing effect, and most people become very calm and comfortable.
In most cases, the anticipation of the injection is much worse than the discomfort. Most patients report that they do not feel the shot as much, or hardly at all, when they use “laughing gas”.
Root canals have a bad reputation because in the past they took very long to complete and techniques for obtaining sufficient anesthesia were not as good. Now with new technology and techniques, root canals can be a very painless experience.
We estimate your time in the office to last approximately 1 to 2 hours. The amount of time a procedure takes will depend on the procedure and the type of tooth involved.
You will be numb for approximately 2 to 3 hours.
When your root canal treatment has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your general dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion of the root canal. Your general dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
After the procedure, your sensitivity to temperature will be completely gone on that tooth. You will be tender to pressure or biting on that tooth. Tenderness to bite typically goes away in 3-4 days.
Soft diet is recommended. Avoid eating for one hour after the root canal is complete, this will allow enough time for the temporary material to harden, then with caution you can eat normally. However, because of the root canal treatment, the tooth might be tender for several days. It is recommended to chew on the opposite side of the treated area until a permanent restoration is placed.
Yes, you will be fine to drive. If you had “laughing gas” after your appointment all of the gas will be completely flushed out of your system with oxygen after the procedure, so you will be able to drive.
Depending on the case, it is possible that you will need antibiotics. The root canal treatment removes the source of the infection. Your body’s natural immune system will usually take care of any residual bacteria. Antibiotics are prescribed for circumstances when the body needs help in this process. This decision will be made by your doctor after evaluating and treating the tooth.
After the procedure is complete we recommend Ibuprofen for postoperative discomfort to help with any discomfort. Most of the times, this procedure will not interfere with your normal daily activities. Therefore, you should be able to return to work even the same day.
After a root canal, treatment is not complete until a permanent restoration is placed by your general dentist. Many studies have shown that after a tooth has had a root canal it becomes very dry and brittle, making it more susceptible to fracture. A crown helps protect it. If your tooth already has a crown, you may only need a permanent filling. Your general dentist will determine what type of permanent restoration will be best for you.
A temporary restoration (filling) is placed after a root canal procedure. This material will only last for two to three weeks. After this time, there is a higher chance of leakage of bacteria into the roots. We recommend that you return to your general dentist within this time frame to prevent re-infection of the tooth.
Yes. We send your dentist a copy of the x-rays and a full report of the root canal treatment.
A medical clearance from your OB-GYN is required prior to all dental treatment, including root canal treatment. It is safe to have dental procedures done during pregnancy with medical clearance. The second trimester is the best time to have a dental procedure performed. However, if an emergency arises during pregnancy, AN EMERGENCY PROCEDURE might be performed to control signs and symptoms of infection until root canal is completed after pregnancy.
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, which produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray equipment.
There are several reasons why a root canal may need to be retreated. Sometimes a canal is missed during the original treatment, or the canals may have not been cleaned out thoroughly enough the first time. There could also be leakage of the restoration or crown. Please visit our section of Endodontic Retreatment for more information.
An apicoectomy is a surgical root canal. We access the roots from under the gum instead of from inside the tooth. We access from the apex or apical portion of the root. After removing the apex of the root we clean out the root and seal it. Please see our section on Endodontic Surgery for more information.
This procedure is used when a root canal is done, but the infection in the surrounding bone is still not able to heal. People have different immune systems, and sometimes dealing with the infection surgically is what is needed for the body to heal completely. Apicoectomies are also used if we are unable to clean all the way to the end of the root when accessing from inside the tooth. Sometimes, removing the last few millimeters of the root tip is the only way to get rid of all the bacteria inside the tooth root. Apicoectomies are useful procedures and very helpful as an adjunct to conventional root canal therapy.