FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Unresolved sensitivity to cold.
  2. Tooth ache pain.
  3. Discomfort with biting on a tooth.
  4. Lingering or spontaneous discomfort to cold or heat.
  5. Pressure pain under the tooth or in the gums.
  6. Swelling of the gums or jaws.

  1. You have previously had Root Canal Treatment and have been told that this tooth needs to be replaced with a Dental Implant
  2. Cold and/or heat pain
  3. Biting pain
  4. Swelling
  5. A Gum Boil is present
  6. Your dentist saw something on a radiograph
  7. You are experiencing pain that is spontaneous and may radiate
  8. Tooth trauma or a history of tooth trauma
  9. A tooth is becoming discolored
  10. A tooth just doesn’t feel right

Typically, getting a root canal done is not painful. The pain most people attribute to endodontic treatment is the pain that they were experiencing prior to the treatment. It is the goal of the treatment to relieve this pain!

It is the goal of the treatment to relieve your root canal related pain. Most often what ever discomfort you may experience after your root canal can be adequately managed with routine headache medication for a short period.

It is not uncommon that the patient can not determine which tooth is causing your cold or heat pain. This is due to the type of innervation of your tooth and is why we will test each tooth individually to determine the culprit. So yes, you should still come in!

Not always. The need for an antibiotic is determined on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on a number of factors.

This depends on the individual case and the course of treatment that is necessary. At times we are able to get the result we are after in a single visit. At other times, another visit is needed to arrive at our desired result.

If your crown is permanently cemented and in good condition, we will plan to work through the crown. After we are done, the access we made through the top of your crown will need to be restored. If your crown is temporarily cemented, make sure that we are informed of this (usually your doctor will have let us know) so we can remove it during your treatment at our office.

The fees involved in your particular case will be established based on the effort your specific case will require, as well as the consideration of any additional procedures that may be necessary to either protect your tooth or to get your tooth ready for its final restoration.

Since often the need for endodontic treatment can not be anticipated, we work with a company called Care Credit to provide you with an optional financial resource to save your tooth! Our staff will be happy to help you with the necessary paperwork.

An endodontist is a dentist who trained in a two to three year specialty program after their general dental training. With this training, an endodontic specialist is very well qualified in the areas of diagnosis of root canal problems, determining whether the source of pain is tooth related, and rendering endodontic treatment whether it is nonsurgical or surgical in nature. Your dentist may do some of their own root canals, however root canals can be deceptively complex and warrant the skills of a specialist.

A dental implant is basically a titanium cylinder that gets placed into your jaw to replace your natural root(s) to support a crown. Under certain circumstances an implant is the best option to choose, however an implant does not duplicate the same quality of function and esthetics that your natural root gives you. While under most circumstances the best decision you can make is to save your natural root, an implant may be an option to consider if your natural root can not be retained due to decay or a root fracture. There has never been a prosthesis that functions as well as the natural part it replaces. In general, the dental implant option should only be considered when retaining your natural root is not possible. After all, you would not opt for a knee replacement when a routine procedure would return the function of your natural knee, would you?

  1. Unresolved sensitivity to cold.
  2. Tooth ache pain.
  3. Discomfort with biting on a tooth.
  4. Lingering or spontaneous discomfort to cold or heat.
  5. Pressure pain under the tooth or in the gums.
  6. Swelling of the gums or jaws.

Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the dental pulp. This pulp tissue formed your tooth and contains typical tissue structures such as veins, arteries, nerves, and lymph vessels. The pulp is encased within a root canal system, which has a main canal that extends from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root with very small, thin divisions that branch off the main canal. A tooth has at least one and usually no more than four root canal systems.

When the pulp tissue becomes damaged due to a deep cavity or fracture, which allows bacteria to seep in, or injury due to restorative efforts or trauma, it becomes inflamed and swollen. Damage to this tissue results in increased blood flow and cellular activity, resulting in increased pressure within the unyielding confines of the tooth. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when applying hot or cold foods or drinks. Once the pulp tissue dies, its remnants leach out of the root canal system and cause an inflammation of the tissue that supports the tooth. This pain in the bone is commonly felt when biting down or chewing on the tooth.

Because the dental pulp tissue inside your tooth can not benefit from inflammation, it will not heal by itself. Consequently, this pulp tissue is the source of dental pain and can be the source of a dental infection. Treatment is required to eliminate the pain and prevent or resolve an infection. This treatment involves the complete elimination of the contents of the root canal system. The contents of the root canal system can be eliminated either by root canal treatment (endodontic treatment) or an extraction. An extraction can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly, resulting in a bad bite unless the space is restored. Though an extraction is initially cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which are often more expensive than endodontic treatment. If you have the choice, it’s always best to keep your original teeth.

Once diagnostic tests are performed on your teeth, a course of treatment will be recommended. This treatment may be performed by your general dentist or by an endodontist (a dental specialist who only treats diseases of the dental pulp tissue). Quality treatment requires a meticulous attention to detail and usually requires multiple appointments.

Next, a rubber sheet called a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to isolate it. Then, an opening is made into the pulp chamber of the tooth, which, along with the root canal system, is cleaned of all diseased pulp and shaped to accept the filling material. Depending on the condition of the tooth, the opening may then be sealed temporarily to guard against recontamination, or the tooth may be left open to facilitate drainage. Under certain circumstances, the dentist may go right ahead and fill the root canal systems.

After each of the root canal systems have been cleaned and shaped, they are filled with gutta percha, which is a rubber-like material, to seal the tooth in three dimensions. The purpose of sealing the root canal system in three dimensions is to completely eliminate this space. This allows the supportive tissues surrounding your tooth to heal.

In some cases, a metal post may be inserted above the canal filling to help restore the tooth. Once the endodontic treatment is completed, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a gold or porcelain crown is normally placed over the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure. The crown is critical to properly restore a posterior tooth and, depending on the case, may be necessary for an anterior tooth.

After appointments, normal tissue inflammation may cause discomfort for a few days, which can usually be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic such as what you would normally take for a headache. At times stronger relief is needed which can require a prescription strength analgesic. Once your root canal treatment is completed, through follow-up exams, the quality of healing will be regularly evaluated. Of course, if a crown is needed, you will be referred back to your regular dentist for this service. From this point on, continue to brush and floss regularly and continue to return to your dentist for your regular dental checkups.

The vast majority of time sedation is not necessary even for the most apprehensive individual. We have found that by taking the time to explain what is involved in providing our services, that much of your apprehension will be alleviated. Certainly at times we encounter the individual who would benefit from some form of sedation. For these individuals most often an oral sedative can be prescribed. For extreme cases of apprehension we can coordinate with a dental anesthesiologist who performs intravenous sedation.

Sometimes root canal treatment will fail. Failure can occur when decay has once again invaded the tooth which re-contaminates the root canal filling material inside your tooth, other times failure results when, for whatever reason, the root canal anatomy could not be adequately located and cleaned out. Another circumstance can involve a structural failure due to a fracture. There are often either nonsurgical or surgical modalities of treatment available to resolve these problems. While saving your tooth is generally your best option and choice, unfortunately, at times an extraction is the necessary option.

Once diagnostic tests are performed on your teeth, a course of treatment will be recommended. This treatment is best performed by an endodontist (a dental specialist who only treats diseases of the dental pulp tissue). Quality treatment requires a meticulous attention to detail and usually requires multiple appointments.
Next, a sheet called a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to isolate it. Then, an opening is remade to access the root canal filling material. Once this material is removed, the canals are treated to the end of the roots and any additional root canal anatomy is searched for. If the canal(s) or the additional root canal anatomy can not be adequately treated non-surgically, then a surgical approach may become necessary.
After each of the root canal systems have been re-cleaned and re-shaped, they are filled with gutta percha, which is a rubber-like material, to seal the tooth in three dimensions. The purpose of sealing the root canal system in three dimensions is to completely eliminate this space. This allows the supportive tissues surrounding your tooth to heal.
In some cases, a metal post may be inserted above the canal filling to help restore the tooth. Once the endodontic re-treatment is completed, the area is permanently sealed. Finally, a gold or porcelain crown is placed over the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure. The crown is critical to properly restore a posterior tooth and, depending on the case, may be necessary for an anterior tooth.