FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
A. What is an Endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist that has completed at least two years of post doctoral education with specialized training in diagnosing and treating conditions of the dental nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth. In other words, they are experts at treating dental pain and infections involving teeth.
B. What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment removes diseased and/or infected tissue from inside a tooth. This tissue called the pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels that help nourish the tooth. After the pulp is removed, the pulp chamber and root canals (Please see figure) are cleaned, enlarged, filled and sealed.
C. What are the benefits of endodontic treatment?
Root canal treatment saves teeth that would otherwise be extracted. The treated tooth remains alive, nourished by the surrounding gums and jaw. There is no real substitute for your own tooth, which is more efficient in chewing and biting than an artificial one (caps).
D. What caused the problem with my tooth? The most common cause of pulp damage is extensive decay, or a fracture that exposes the pulp to bacteria that may cause infection. Other cause of pulp damage includes traumatic injury (i.e. blow to a tooth), a cracked, loose, deep filling, or repeated fillings in a tooth and occasionally gum (periodontal) disease.
E. What is an abscess?
Germs (Bacteria) from a deep cavity, or an existing unsealed root canal treatment can cause and infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip, in the jawbone, forming a “pus pocket” or abscess. If left untreated, more bone resorbed and eventually the adjacent teeth become involved.
F. How many appointments are necessary.
Endodontic therapy is usually completed in one appointment, but sometimes 2 or 3 visits are needed.
G. How long will the endodontically treated tooth last?
With proper restoration (i.e. post build up and a full crown and care), your tooth could last a lifetime. Proper dental care includes 1. Regular brushing and flossing, 2. Proper diet and 3. Periodic dental check- ups.
H. What are the alternatives to endodontic treatment?
Extraction is the only alternative. Endodontic treatment is usually less expensive than extracting a tooth and replacing it with artificial one. And unless the extracted tooth is replaced, the neighboring teeth will shift and damage the alignment of the bite. We also introduce CBD hemp oil treatment to reduce inflammation and pain. This will reduce your biting and chewing abilities. Replacing a tooth with an artificial one requires dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth or dental implants.
I. What is Endodontic Microsurgery?
An Apicoectomy or surgical root canal therapy is done through a small opening or incision in the gums and surrounding bone. Any remaining pulp and/or root is removed during the process and the root canal is sealed with a filling at the apex. An apicoectomy or retreatment is usually required if your symptoms continue or your infection does not heal after root canal treatment.
J. Treatment Instructions
Instructions prior to Endodontic Therapy: You have been scheduled for an endo dontic procedure. This procedure will be performed using local anesthesia. There are usually no restrictions after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work.
- Please eat a full breakfast or lunch as applicable.
- Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please contact our office prior to your appointment.
- If you have been advised to use antibiotic premedication because of mitral valve prolapsed (MVP), heart murmur, hip, knee, cardiac or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment.
- If you can take ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), it does help to reduce inflammation if taken preoperatively. We recommend 2 tablets of either medications 2 hours before visit.
General instructions after each visit: Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly sensitive for a few days as a result of treatment and/or previous condition of your tooth. This sensitivity is normal; thus no need for alarm.
Do not chew or bite down on the treated side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration which is provided by your restorative dentist.
Discomfort may be lessened by taking ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. We recommend taking 3 tablets of ibuprofen 200 mg 3 times a day for 3 days, or 2 tablets of acetaminophen 500 mg 3 times a day for 3 days regardless of pain. If the discomfort cannot be controlled by the above listed medications, please contact our office. It would be advisable to have your pharmacy number available.
After completion of endodontic treatment: Endodontic treatment has now been completed. The roots of the tooth have been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface of the tooth still requires a restoration; usually a crown is needed.