Endodontic FAQ

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 CD-ROM. For more information contact Sirona Dental Systems, Inc.

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 root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact his office for a follow-up restoration within a few 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. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.

What payment options do you provide?

For your convenience we accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. We also participate in the CareCredit program. CareCredit offers a comprehensive range of payment plan options for various treatment procedures. For more information, please contact us or visit the CareCredit program online at www.carecredit.com.

Do you accept my insurance plan?

We accept a variety of dental PPO Insurances. Our office will file dental claims covered by your primary dental insurance for you at no additional costs.

Do you accept referrals?

We welcome referrals from dentists, patients, their families and friends.

Does this procedure hurt? Is there anything you can do to help me relax?

Many patients feel nervous when they hear the words “root canal” or endodontic treatment. However today’s dental techniques have made this treatment more comfortable than before. We can offer oral sedation, IV sedation (with a dental anesthesiologist present) and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax during your treatment. If you are stressed about your visit, please let us know. We’ll do everything possible to help you feel comfortable.

How many visits are required for this treatment?

Occasionally, treatment can be provided on the same day as the consultation. However, a complex case, a complicated medical history or complex treatment plan will require a second appointment.

What do I do if I have an emergency?

Our office phone is answered almost all the time during normal office hours. If you have an endodontic emergency after normal office hours, please call 469-698-8282. Follow the instructions provided in the message. We will return your call as soon as possible.

After hours and weekend office visits are strictly limited to emergency care only. Emergency care is designed to alleviate acute discomfort.

My child has had an accident and knocked out a tooth. What should I do?

If the tooth is clean, replant it in its socket if at all possible. If the tooth is not clean—if it has debris on it, for example—rinse if off with milk and try to replant it. Do not scrape the tooth

If you are unable to replant the tooth, store it in a container of milk.

Call your dentist and get in to see him/her as soon as possible; the quicker, the better.

What should I do if I need to cancel my appointment?

We require a 24 hour cancellation notice to cancel your appointment. Please remember this time is reserved exclusively for you. Your courtesy in doing this may allow someone else to be seen in a timely manner.

When do I come in for a follow-up visit?

A follow up appointment will be scheduled by us after root canal treatment has been completed. This can either be 3 months, 6 months or 1 year, depending on your particular case. In the meantime if you have any concerns, please call our office.