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Frequently Asked Questions

Root canal therapy "endodontics" is an advanced dental procedure on the inside (endo) of the tooth (dontic).  An opening is made in the chewing surface of the tooth so that inflamed or infected pulp tissue can be removed.  The root canal is cleaned, disinfected and shaped, then tightly sealed so that no bacteria can enter and re-infect the tooth.

Root canal therapy is quite common. Over 14 million teeth undergo endodontic therapy each year.

With modern anesthesia, most patients are comfortable during the procedure.  After the procedure, the tooth may feel sore or sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.  This discomfort can be relieved with over the counter or prescription medication.  However, if you are experiencing swelling or severe pain, you should contact our office as soon as possible.

Advances in endodontics have made it possible to save teeth that would have been non-savable just a few years ago.  However, sometimes a tooth cannot be saved because the root is severly fractured, there is bone loss, or the tooth is non-restorable.

Sometimes the pulp inside your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or a blow to the tooth. 

Choosing a retreatment is an investment in keeping you natural tooth. Although modern tooth replacements are effective, you natural tooth is your best option, if possible.

An infected or injured tooth may cause you to be sensitive to hot or cold foods, or may cause pain when you bite or touch the tooth.  You may awaken at night with severe pain and throbbing. Your gums may swell or become sensitive to touch near the affected tooth.

After the endodontic procedure is performed, special care should be taken with the treated tooth. For the first few days after treatment, do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had a suitable restoration by you dentist, if necessary. You will need to see your dentist as soon as possible because the unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture.

Your dentist or endodontist may feel this is the best option for you. Many times, the only other alternative is extraction. Additional dental procedures would then be necessary, and surgery may be the most cost effective option in order to maintain your dental health.

 

Some insurance companies will cover all or part of the retreatment fee, although some insurance companies have limitations in a given period of time. We will assist you in getting the most coverage possible by submitting a narrative explaining the reason for retreatment. As with all dental procedures, there is never a guarantee of payment until the insurance company receives and processes you claim.

This information is provided to inform you about measures we have taken in our office to reduce the chance of cross-contamination of disease from patient to patient. These include, but are not limited to the following:

Face Masks: All of our clinical personnel wear face masks during active patient care. These physical barriers assist in reducing the spread of organisms from person to person.

Gloves: New rubber gloves are worn for every patient, and are changed each time the assistant or Dr. leaves the room. This assures you that the chance of contamination from others is minimal.

Disinfection of counters and other surfaces: You will note that there is an occasional chemical odor associated with disinfected surfaces. These chemicals are necessary to clean any surfaces that are touched during patient treatment. Also, plastic barriers are used whenever necessary to avoid cross-contamination.

Items attached to dental operating units: Hand pieces, along with air and water syringes, are autoclaved. High and low volume aspirators are disposable. You will notice that some of these items are wrapped with gauze soaked in disinfectant. A slight chemical odor may be noticed.

Instruments: All metal instruments that are placed in your mouth have been sterilized in an autoclave. Plastic or other items, unless disposable, have been chemically sterilized.