What are signs of needing endodontic treatment?
Signs to look for include:
• Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
• Tenderness to touch and chewing
• Discoloration of the tooth
• Tenderness in the lymph nodes, (as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues)
• Sometimes there are no apparent clinical symptoms, which is why a radiograph (x-ray) may be necessary
Why would I need an endodontic procedure?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed/infected. The inflammation/infection may have been caused by several factors, such as:
• Deep decay
• Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
• A crack or chip in the tooth.
In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it may cause pain or lead to an abscess.
How does endodontic treatment save a tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed/infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your general dentist, for final restoration on the tooth in order to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other teeth.
What causes an endodontically treated tooth to need additional treatment?
There are several factors that may lead to additional treatment:
• New trauma
• A deep decay
• A loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth
• In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.
How much will the procedure cost?
The cost varies depending on the location of the tooth and the severity of the treatment. Most dental insurance provide some form of coverage for endodontic treatment.
Generally, endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth are less costly than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with a bridge or implant to properly restore the area and prevent shifting of adjacent teeth. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment with the appropriate restoration. With root canal treatment you save money and your natural teeth.
Will the treatment be painful? How about after the treatment?
We will take every measure to ensure that your procedure is in no way uncomfortable or painful. If treatment is needed, we will inject a small amount of anesthesia to gently numb a concentrated area of your mouth. (Upon request, we can provide specialized anesthesia/sedation.) For most patients, the feeling of numbness usually subsides after 2-3 hours. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was a pain or infection before treatment. This discomfort may be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow the instructions given carefully.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is complete. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact us.
Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment after endodontic treatment?
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your general dentist. The un-restored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and regular check-ups and cleanings.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth.
Will I need to return to your office for follow-ups after the procedure is finished?
Yes, for most root canal treatments, we recommend that patients return to our office 6 months after the treatment is finished. Our office will send a reminder notice to you when you are due for a recall appointment.