What is an Endodontist?

An Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in Endodontic Treatment (root canal treatment and microsurgery).  To become an endodontist, the dentist needs to do an extra two to three years of advanced education after dental school.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic treatment; however, some cases can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  This is why you may have been referred to an endodontist.

What is Endodontic Treatment?

The word “endodontic” comes from “endo” meaning inside and “odont” meaning tooth in medical terminology.  Root Canal Treatment and Microsurgery are Endodontic Treatments.

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Your tooth consists of three hard layers:  enamel, dentin and cementum.  Inside the hard layers of the tooth, there is a space filled with soft dental pulp, including nerves and blood vessels.  Root Canal Treatment is a procedure performed either as a preventative treatment, often before a crown, or when the pulp becomes infected, and must be removed.  Once a tooth is fully-grown, it can survive without the pulp.  Infection of the pulp can be the result of cracks in the tooth, carious lesion (decay) or accidents.  Root Canal Treatment can reduce or prevent symptoms, and help preserve the tooth. 

What is Root Canal Retreatment?

With proper care, most teeth with root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth.  In some cases, Retreatment can be performed when a tooth that already had Root Canal Treatment shows signs of infection or other problems. The Retreatment consists of removing the old root canal filling material, and then replacing it with a new root filling after thorough cleaning of the roots.   

What is Endodontic (Root) Microsurgery?

When a tooth with initial Root Canal Treatment or Retreatment still has symptoms or signs of an infection, one of the treatment options is to physically remove the “abscess” with an in-office surgical procedure.  

What to expect at the Root Canal Treatment appointment?

When we receive a referral from your dentist, we schedule an appointment for either a consultation (15 to 30 minutes) or a consultation and Root Canal Treatment (approximately 1 hour or more).  You may be given a referral slip and/or an x-ray film by your dentist to bring to our office.  We may need to take additional x-ray films if required.

The consultation consists of a comprehensive intra-oral examination of the problem area and an explanation of your treatment options and prognosis, followed by the treatment if you have been scheduled for the procedure.  If you prefer to have a consultation only first, please let us know when we schedule your appointment.

It is very important to bring a list of any medications you are taking.  It will be necessary for you to complete a medical history form for our records, as well as to sign a consent form prior to seeing the endodontist.  Please bring any insurance information you have, to help us with the claim processing.

Do I need to see my dentist after the Root Canal Treatment?

After completion of the Root Canal Treatment, a temporary filling will be placed in the tooth.  We recommend that you see your dentist within 3 weeks of having Root Canal Treatment for the permanent restoration (filling or crown).

Can I drive after Root Canal Treatment?

We use local anesthetic (freezing) for Root Canal Treatment.  There are no problem driving or going back to work after the procedure.  For certain Microsurgery procedures, you may be advised to make alternative transportation arrangements. Your Endodontist will inform you at the consultation appointment.

Is there any follow-up after my Root Canal Treatment?

An abscess can take from 6 months to more than a year to heal.  To insure that the healing process is taking place, we will see you for a follow-up examination and an x-ray film.  You will receive a card by mail to ask you to contact us at that time.  There is no additional fee for this service.

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