Frequently Asked Questions

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving treatment of the pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Though the outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems, can severely damage the pulp. When that happens, an endodontic specialist removes the diseased pulp to save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally.

I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?

No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontics treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to cotherapists via e-mail or diskette.

What about infection?

Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.

What happens after treatment?

When your Endodontic Therapy (root canal therapy) has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within 2 weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative 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.

What new technologies are being used?

Operating Microscopes: In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth.

Electric Apex Locators:In certain cases electric apex locators can minimize the number of x-rays needed to complete Endodontic Therapy (root canal treatment).

Ultrasonics:Ultrasonic instruments can be valuable to remove or loosen obstructions that would otherwise prevent reliable endodontic therapy.

Is Treatment Painful?

With modern anesthetics and newer techniques, there is usually no discomfort during treatment. In fact, endodontic treatment usually relieves pain. After treatment, it is common to experience mild soreness in the area for several days, especially to chewing pressure. If you are particularly apprehensive, an oral sedative may be prescribed for you.

Will my dental insurance cover my visit?

We accept most dental insurance plans. Each case is different and fees will vary accordingly. Once an examination and consultation is completed, we will be able to tell you our fees and an estimate of how much your insurance will cover. Most dental insurance policies only cover a percentage of the fee and the patient is responsible for the balance. We offer several financial options to ensure that you get the necessary treatment and a payment plan that suits you.

How much will the procedure cost?

The cost varies depending on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat, therefore, the fee is usually more. Most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for endodontic treatment. Retreatments and endodontic surgeries are more expensive since they involve more time and effort. Fees for your visit are payable at the time of your appointment.

How Long is the Treatment?

Endodontic treatment is usually completed in one or two visits, and most visits are 1 to 2 hours in length.

What do I need to bring with me?

Please bring a pictured ID, insurance card (if you have one), as well as any radiograph copies (if any) given by your general dentist. Please also bring a list of medications you are currently taking, as well as your physician’s name and telephone number.

What should I expect following root canal treatment?

The root canal system inside your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, and the irritated tissue and bacteria that caused you to need root canal treatment have been removed. It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. It is important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember, narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy and caution should be exercised in operating dangerous machinery or driving a car after taking them.

Taking care of your tooth

Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long term success. Contact your dentist within two weeks to arrange
your next appointment for final restoration.