If you are visiting an endodontist, there's a good chance you'll be receiving root canal therapy. Although the idea of a root canal sounds terrifying to many people, it's actually a routine procedure that typically heals quickly and causes little to no pain. Thanks to modern dental techniques and technology, a root canal can help save your teeth and give you a pain-free smile.
No matter what your reason for visiting an endodontist, we want to provide you with the most pleasant experience possible. Please read these resources prior to your visit and contact your practice if you have any additional questions.
Your visit begins with paperwork that includes your medical history and consent forms. We recommend you bring a list of all medications you are taking regularly or have recently taken.
After completing your forms, our team will review your history of tooth pain. If you have been referred by your dentist, we will review any information that has been passed along.
A complete set of X-rays is often necessary before your endodontist can test your teeth, diagnose your symptoms and develop your treatment plan. During this part of your appointment, your endodontist will make you aware of the benefits, options and risks associated with your treatment, as well as any post-treatment that may be necessary.
Your treatment will begin with local anesthesia that will numb any sensations in the affected area. Your endodontist will then complete the procedure, often in a single visit.
After your procedure is complete, additional X-rays may be used to track the success of the treatment. You will also receive post-operation instructions that will set expectations for the days immediately following the procedure. It’s important to follow all instructions carefully in order to ensure effective healing.
It is common for the treated area to feel tender for a few days after a root canal. Temporary soreness is typical and often responds very well to over-the-counter pain medications. Be sure to follow all instructions when taking any medications.
It is also common for your tooth to feel different from your other teeth after your root canal treatment. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact us immediately.
General Guidelines for Post-Treatment Care
Do not eat anything until the numbness in your mouth wears off. This will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue.
If a temporary filling was placed in the chewing surface of your tooth, do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist.
Be sure to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.
If the opening in your tooth was restored with a temporary filling material, it is not unusual for a thin layer to wear off in-between appointments. However, if you think the entire filling has come out, contact your endodontist.
Contact your endodontist right away if you develop any of the following:
a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth;
an allergic reaction to medication, including rash, hives or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction);
a return of original symptoms; or
your bite feels uneven.
Taking Care of Your Tooth
The long-term health of your tooth requires ongoing proper care. A root canal is one step in the healing process of your tooth. In order to return to full function, you most likely will need a final restoration of your tooth. If you have a temporary filling in your tooth, please contact your dentist to schedule this procedure.
Will my root canal hurt?
Root canals are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches. Our endodontists have a deep understanding of pain management and use modern techniques along with anesthetics to keep you as comfortable as possible during your procedure. Most patients report little to no pain during the procedure. Your tooth may feel sensitive for several days after the procedure. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are typically enough to manage any pain. If you experience any pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, contact your endodontist immediately.
Will I need additional treatment after my root canal?
A root canal is one important step in regaining full function of your tooth. It is often necessary to have a final restoration of the affected tooth. Contact your dentist to schedule your appointment after your root canal procedure is completed.
What is endodontic therapy?
Endodontic therapy is the removal of a damaged or infected pulp. Following removal, the root canals and pulp chamber are thoroughly cleaned, filled with strengthening filler and sealed with a temporary covering.
Who provides endodontic treatment?
All dentists receive some endodontic training. However, endodontic specialists are dentists who limit their practice to endodontic procedures. They complete an additional two years of post-graduate training in endodontics following dental school. After passing a sequence of exams, these specialists are designated board certified by the American Board of Endodontics.
What are the advantages of endodontic therapy?
In terms of functionality, there is no real substitute for your natural tooth. Endodontic therapy is significant because it is designed to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed.
What causes the pulp to become damaged?
The pulp can become damaged due to periodontal disease and as a result of a traumatic injury. However, the most common reasons for pulp damage are extreme decay and a fracture that exposes the pulp to bacteria that stimulate infection.
Is endodontic therapy painful?
A local anesthetic is applied to ensure that you experience little to no pain during the procedure.
How long will the tooth last?
Although the tooth is more fragile, with a proper restoration, along with daily brushing, flossing, routine follow-ups and a healthy diet, the tooth may last a lifetime.
Can endodontic therapy save all teeth?
Unfortunately, not every tooth can be saved. If there is adequate bone support and the canals are accessible and can be thoroughly cleaned and sealed, the treatment can be performed.
What alternatives are available?
The only other option is to remove the tooth. Extraction can stimulate the formation of periodontal disease and additional tooth loss. Failure to replace an extracted tooth will cause the adjacent teeth to shift and negatively impact chewing and biting.