Endodontists are dental specialists who have completed two additional years of advanced endodontic training and education beyond dental school. Endodontic training emphasizes root canal treatments and the diagnosis of diseases and conditions that warrant them. An endodontist does not practice general dentistry but instead devotes the majority of his or her time to performing root canals – specifically those pertaining to narrowed canals or anatomically atypical cases. Most endodontists have offices equipped with highly advanced technology, including 3D imaging devices and high powered microscopes.

Did you know…

that endodontists perform an estimated 5.7 million procedures every year? Of those, the American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 4.2 million are root canal treatments. Despite the majority of those being widely successful, there are still several myths surrounding root canal treatment. For example, root canal treatments do not cause pain as rumored; they relieve it. Similarly, extracting a diseased tooth is not a better alternative to root canal treatment, as keeping as much of your natural tooth as possible should be the treatment goal of you and your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I visit an endodontist?

You may need to visit an endodontist if you have decay that has reached the pulp of your tooth. Once bacteria reach the pulp, it can be extremely painful and will cause the tooth to begin to die. By seeking endodontic help, you can get relief for your pain and still preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible.

What should I expect during an endodontic treatment?

Your visit to the endodontist should not be intimidating. Instead, you can expect a comfortable office and knowledgeable staff members who assist patients everyday in relieving pain and treating diseased teeth. You can expect to be anesthetized for the duration of your treatment to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The majority of endodontic treatments are highly successful. Though results vary from person to person, there is a good chance your root canal and restoration will last you a lifetime.

Will I need to follow any special instructions after the procedure?

Following your root canal, you will need to follow a set of post-operative instructions designed to make your recovery easier and successful. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for at least a half hour, and you may begin experiencing some slight discomfort near the site of the procedure in the first couple of days. Be sure to avoid biting or chewing hard and sticky foods, and schedule an appointment to return to your dentist for a permanent crown or filling within 30 days of your procedure.

Root canal retreatment is a procedure used to clean the canals of a tooth that have already been subject to a root canal. Although most root canals are successful the first time, there are many reasons why a retreatment may be necessary. For example, some patients may have hidden canals that were not identified in the initial procedures, whereas others may experience a new infection caused by a loose crown or damaged filling. In some cases, these complications can occur immediately following a root canal when pain continues to persist and the tooth fails to heal. For other patients, complications can arise many years after an initial root canal. The goal of re-treatment is always the same as the initial root canal: Eliminate all bacteria from the inside of the tooth and seal it so that it is permanently protected from future infections.

Did you know…

that a retreated root canal can allow a natural tooth to last many years or even a lifetime? In fact, the National Institutes of Health confirm that successful treatment is a realistic goal of root canal retreatment. As with any dental procedure, there is no guarantee that retreatment will be a success for every patient. However, the majority of root canal retreatment patients – approximately 70 percent – experience positive outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a root canal retreatment or should I have my tooth extracted?

If your root canal treatment was unsuccessful or a new infection has occurred in a previously treated tooth, retreatment offers a chance to save your tooth without having it extracted. If many years have passed since your initial root canal, innovative new methods may be available to your endodontist that were not an option during your first treatment. Of course, there is no way to know whether retreatment is right for you without first consulting with your endodontist.

What should I expect during my root canal retreatment?

If you determine that retreatment is right for you, your tooth will be reopened so that the filling may be removed from your tooth. Special instrumentation will be used to identify hidden canals or areas of the tooth that could be harboring an infection. These areas will be cleaned out and refilled. You’ll then return to your dentist for a crown or other type of restoration.

Will I need to follow any after-care instructions following my root canal retreatment?

As with your first root canal, your retreatment will require you to avoid chewing or biting with your treated tooth until you can return to your dentist for a restoration. You may also experience some discomfort following your treatment. These usually subside within a few days, but contact your  endodontist if pain persists or worsens.

Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure used to clear infected pulp away from the pulp chambers and canals of a diseased tooth. Infections occur when bacteria are allowed to enter the pulp – often due to untreated decay or a crack in the tooth. During a root canal, the tooth is opened and the pulp removed. Biocompatible cement is used to fill the tooth before it is restored with a crown or other restoration.

Did you know…

that while most infected teeth are easily identified by the symptoms they cause, some produce no discomfort at all? It is important to visit your dentist regularly for routine exams that may reveal diseased teeth that would otherwise go unnoticed. Failure to treat an infected tooth could result in the death of the tooth and total loss. Worse, the infection can spread to other areas of the body, causing potentially life-threatening conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need root canal treatment?

You may need a root canal if tooth decay or a broken tooth has allowed the pulp to become infected and inflamed. Signs and symptoms to watch out for include temperature sensitivity, swelling, drainage, odor, pain, and discoloration of the tooth. It is important to treat infections quickly, as delaying treatment can result in severe tooth pain and abscess.

What should I expect to happen during my root canal?

Your endodontist will numb your tooth with a local anesthetic and administer analgesia if needed. Once the tooth is numb, an opening will be made in the top of your tooth to access the canals. Your endodontist will use tiny instruments to remove pulp from your tooth and prepare it to be filled. You will return at a later date to have your root canal capped with a crown or other type of restoration that will give it the appearance and function of a natural tooth.

Will I need to follow any post-operative instructions following my root canal treatment?

You will be allowed to drive yourself home from your root canal visit and may even wish to return to work the same day. However, it is normal for your tooth to be sensitive in the days following your procedure. You’ll need to avoid biting anything with your filled tooth, as this can cause it to break or fracture. So long as the tooth heals normally and you experience no complications, you can return to your endodontist within a month to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth.

If you are undergoing a procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Postoperative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.

Try to anticipate some of the questions you may have about your post-operative care and ask them prior to your treatment.

Some of the most common post-op questions include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I talk with my endodontist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?

Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.

What should I expect when I speak with my endodontist?

Your endodontist should allocate enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.

Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?

Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.

Endodontic treatments have come a long way in recent years due in part to modern advancements in endodontic technology. Visiting an endodontist is much different than it would have been even just a few years ago thanks to advanced digital imaging tools that help automate office procedures. These tools allow for better accuracy, greater comfort and improved outcomes for patients.

Some of the advanced technologies that can be found in endodontic offices include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I benefit from advanced endodontic technology?

Yes! The technology available to endodontists is changing the way patients get care. Your treatment experience and outcome could be significantly improved by visiting an endodontist who employs the use of state of the art equipment.

What should I expect from these types of technology?

Depending on your procedure, you can expect a faster treatment and more accurate results.

Will I need to visit my endodontist for a follow-up?

Your endodontist will inform you of any post-operative instructions that you need to follow after treatment. Though you may not need to return to the endodontist following your procedure, it may be necessary for you to return to your restorative dentist if you need a crown or other restoration.

Your first visit to an endodontist lays the foundation for your future treatment. It will consist of a thorough review of your medical and dental history, as well as an evaluation of your symptoms. During your visit, your endodontist may review existing x-rays or request additional x-rays and 3D imaging to make an accurate diagnosis. Based on your endodontist’s findings, you will receive a treatment plan recommendation and be given the opportunity to ask questions about your diagnosis and treatment.

Before arrival…

In order to expedite your initial visit and streamline your office visit, you’ll need to come prepared with the following:

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I see an endodontist?

You should see an endodontist if you require an apicoectomy or treatment for a root canal or broken tooth that is beyond the expertise of a general dentist. You’ll need a referral to see an endodontist, so consult with your dentist about whether you should see an endodontic specialist.

What should I expect during my visit?

If you visit an endodontist, you’ll be evaluated and diagnosed based on your symptoms and image results. You may also be subject to additional screenings and diagnostic testing beyond what you may have already had at your general dentist’s office. Although some of the equipment in your endodontist’s office may look complicated, it is highly advanced technology that helps ensure your treatment is effective and precise.

What happens after my initial visit?

After you visit with your endodontist for the first time, you will be scheduled to return for treatment. Depending on the extent of your treatment, you may be anesthetized and sedated to ensure you are comfortable for the duration of your procedure.

Dental emergencies happen all the time, but some require treatment from an endodontic specialist. Endodontists frequently treat patients who are experiencing sudden and severe pain due to damaged or diseased teeth. Some of the most common endodontic emergencies pertain to cracked teeth, badly infected teeth, and inflamed or infected bone tissues beneath the gums. Seeing a specialist means getting instant pain relief and reliable treatment from someone who treats similar emergencies every day. Most endodontists will administer anesthesia and sedation to help you relax during your treatment. In fact, the majority of patients experience no pain at all during their procedures.

Did you know…

that an emergency root canal could be the most effective means of relieving sudden and seemingly unbearable tooth pain? Often, the tell-tale sign of an endodontic emergency is tooth pain that begins moderately and progresses to get much worse. Endodontic emergencies require immediate treatment from an endodontist who can make room for your emergency day or night.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need emergency treatment from an endodontist?

If you are experiencing sudden, unrelenting tooth pain that is not subsiding and seems to be worsening, you should probably see an endodontist right away. Getting immediate treatment will not only help relieve your pain, but it could save your tooth too.

What should I expect at an emergency endodontic appointment?

You can expect to be seen very quickly during your endodontic emergency. Your endodontist will examine your mouth and may obtain x-rays to identify the source of the pain and determine whether your tooth can be saved. You’ll be anesthetized and given treatment on the spot. After all, when you are in pain, you don’t have time to wait.

Is there anything I can do to avoid future endodontic emergencies?

Yes. Start by maintaining your general dental appointments to have your teeth cleaned and prevent excessive decay. Avoid eating hard foods like ice that can chip, crack or break your tooth unexpectedly. Also, you can avoid the need for an endodontic retreatment by caring for your new restoration. If you maintain good oral health and regularly clean around your endodontic treatment site, your treated tooth could outlast your natural ones.
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