An Endodontist is a Specialist in root canal therapy and all associated procedures. His/her practice is limited solely to root canal therapy. This is the result of two or three extra years of dental training specific to the specialty of Endodontics, after a four-year dental school program.
A General Dentist can in fact perform endodontic therapy. However, patients are often referred to the Endodontist for cases where the complexities of the root canal procedure extend beyond the General Dentist’s comfort level. There may be a higher cost involved in seeing a Specialist, but the value is in the expertise of this practitioner, on top of the experience to deal with a wide variety of challenges that present themselves to someone who sees the most complicated root canal-related situations.
Antibiotics travel through the bloodstream to help clear any infections that may be present within the body. However, the blood supply to the tooth is easily disrupted in the case of disease to the pulp. As a result, the antibiotic is not able to reach the affected areas inside the tooth. They do however minimize and reduce swelling in the bone and gums surrounding the tooth, whether administered before or after root canal therapy.
When the pulp inside the tooth is diseased to the point that blood supply is compromised and nerve conduction ceases, bacterial infection is then free to set in. These bacteria proceed to then produce chemicals that in turn cause the body’s immune system to react, and pain is the way the body alerts the host individual that there is a problem.
Freezing (local anesthesia) is still recommended because the nerves and blood vessels of the bone and other tissues surrounding the tooth remain alive and sensitive. Sometimes the pulp within the tooth is also not 100% dead as testing may lead the clinician to believe. It is best to “numb” them as well in order to ensure that the patient has an easy and pain-free experience during root canal therapy.
It is possible to experience some post-operative sensitivity after root canal work has been done. This can be controlled by common over-the-counter pain medications, especially those that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Stronger pain medications can be prescribed in rare cases where more pain than anticipated occurs. Antibiotics also help minimize any post-operative discomfort.
Endodontist and staff always work hard to minimize the number of exposures required to ensure a successful root canal procedure. Any extra x-rays are solely out of necessity to achieve the best outcome possible. Endodontist office uses digital radiography, which reduces the radiation dose compared to traditional x-rays.
Not at all. With the small working instruments at the Endodontist’s disposal and the surgical operating microscope, he/she will be able to get the work done to the highest standards possible.
Endodontist will always try to minimize the number of visits for a patient. It is often just one, and rarely more than two. The teeth near the back (molars) are often more complicated than the front teeth, and therefore may take more time. He will generally never work more than 1.5 hours on a tooth, unless specifically asked to do so. The vast majority of procedures can be done between 45 and 75 minutes.
Once root canal therapy is complete, the patient is instructed to see his or her restorative dentist for the permanent filling or crown, generally within two weeks. If the referring dentist requested a post space, a post will then be included in the final restoration of the tooth.
An Endodontist has limited his/her practice to root canal therapy and any related procedures. As such, the best clinician to see the patient for the permanent filling or crown is the restorative dentist (who is generally the person who referred them to the Endodontist). The restorative dentist is well-versed in the materials and techniques to restore the tooth treated by the Endodontist to full function.
Root canals are generally 90-91% successful, and have even been reported to be up to 95% successful. The outcome of treatment at the Endodontist depends on many factors: the anatomy and intrinsic qualities of the nerve canals within the tooth, the general health of the patient, the tooth’s structural strength (the presence or absence of crack or fracture lines), the bone support and gums surrounding the tooth, and follow-up visits with the restorative dentist. While regrettably 100% success does not exist for root canals, the most effort along with the best techniques and treatment methods will be employed by the Endodontist to maximize the long-term outcome of the procedure.
There is no minimum or maximum age for root canals. With the advances of modern medicine and science, human beings are living longer than ever. Concomitant with this longer lifespan is a greater desire to retain ones natural teeth for as long as possible. Barring the anatomical complexities of a tooth that may increase as we all age, there are no limitations on age when it comes to who may benefit from having a root canal.
Endodontist needs to lean the patient back in the chair in order to have proper access, good lighting, and proper posture to perform any and all vital Endodontic procedures. Within reason and where possible, pillows and towels are permitted to maximize patient comfort.
Absolutely. Endodontist works with a Dental Anesthesiologist who assists him with patients who prefer not to be awake during the endodontic procedure. The Dental Anesthesiologist (much like an Endodontist) is a Specialist that has undergone a few extra years of training specifically to provide general anesthesia and deep sedation to patients who request it.
Nitrous oxide gas sedation is also available upon request.
This information is always (and only) provided by Endodontist himself. There are so many extenuating circumstances surrounding each and every tooth that there is no way to provide an estimate without the Doctor seeing the tooth first. This can be discussed fully at the time of the consultation, which can be easily arranged by the receptionist. An estimate can be sent to insurance companies at this time.