FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Endodontists are dental specialists who focus on treating infections and injuries to the dental pulp, root and tissues surrounding the teeth. All licensed endodontists must undergo two to three years of specialized training at an accredited university after completing dental school.
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for more invasive replacement procedures. At the center of your tooth is pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by traumatic injury, deep decay, cracks, chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of an infection can be identified as visible damage of the tooth, swelling of the face, a sudden change in sensitivity to temperature, or pain and swelling in the tooth and gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and sealed. This therapy involves an effective dose of local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. After completion of your endodontic (root canal) therapy, you may be instructed to return to your dentist’s office within a couple of weeks for the final restoration. Often times he/she will fabricate a custom crown to offer added protection for your tooth. It is rare for complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. However, if a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, and re-infection of your tooth, continue to practice good dental hygiene and be evaluated regularly at your dentist’s office. The costs associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the damage to the affected tooth and the type of tooth that is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. At your consultation appointment, we will be able to discuss all of your treatment options and provide a custom treatment plan that addresses your needs.
Most patients return to either work or school the same day immediately after treatment. The area may be sore 2-3 days following a root canal, but over-the-counter pain medications are helpful in reducing soreness and discomfort. For complete post-operative care, take a look at our Post-Op Instructions. Each case is unique, but most root canals typically take 1-2 hours. Numbness from local anesthetic usually lasts a few hours after treatment. We recommend that you do not chew any food during this time. Soft foods and drinks are okay.
Root canal therapy is usually highly successful on the first treatment. In fact, some studies show the success rate of root canals to be as high as 95 percent.
No. The use of low-radiation digital radiography in our office greatly decreases the exposure to radiation compared to traditional dental x-rays. Even though multiple x-rays may be needed before, during, and after your root canal treatment, we will always be sure to take the least possible.