What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving the diagnosis and treatment of the pulp. The pulp, which is a mixture of nerves and blood vessels, is found inside the root structure of the tooth (root canal). Bacteria introduced into the pulp as a result of decay, trauma, or periodontal disease, can damage the pulp and result in painful symptoms. When that happens, an endodontic procedure is needed to remove the diseased pulp in order to save the tooth.

Who are Endodontists?

Endodontists have received an additional two or more years of advanced education, after graduating from dental school. They study root canal techniques and treatment in greater depth. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to Endodontists.

Do I still need a root canal if my tooth quit hurting?

There are certain key symptoms (spontaneous pain, lingering cold/hot sensitivity, bite sensitivity) that indicate the pulp tissue has undergone irreversible change. So even though there may be a temporary relief of problems, the tooth will ultimately require a root canal.

Why do I need to schedule an evaluation/consultation if my dentist already stated I need a root canal?

For some teeth we can tell from your symptoms and a x-ray, the need for root canal treatment. However, for some cases it is not always possible to tell which tooth is causing discomfort or what type of treatment is needed. In some instances, the problem tooth was not the one initially believed to be the cause of symptoms. And sometimes root canal treatment is not the best option. As a result an initial consultation is needed.

How many visits are required for root canal treatment?

Some teeth require a single visit, while others require two or more visits. The number of visits is determined by many factors, including the type of symptoms present, and the shape/anatomy of the tooth. In general, the more complex the treatment involved, the more appointments could be needed to complete the root canal.

Is root canal treatment painful?

For the vast majority of people, root canal procedures are a non-painful experience, enabling a return to normal activities. Taking a regular dose of an anti-inflammatory drug (i.e. Advil, Aleve) for a few days is all that is usually needed.

Do I need antibiotics before or after root canal treatment?

Most of the time, only if there is swelling or fever. However, sometimes antibiotics are recommended because of other medical issues (i.e heart valve, or joint replacement).

Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

Most teeth can be saved with a root canal. Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved due to complex tooth anatomy or position in mouth, periodontal/gum problems, or severe decay

Should I worry about X-rays?

No. Our office uses computerized digital radiography, which has minimal radiation exposure.

How do you ensure my safety during treatment?

We use the latest barrier techniques and sterilization protocols advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Dental Association. Each member of our staff is certified in CPR, and we are equipped with an AED (Automatic Electronic Defibrillator).

Is there anything you can do to help me relax?

Most of time, efficient communication is all that is needed. Otherwise, we have nitrous oxide. In more complex situations, oral sedation is sometimes required.