What is endodontics?
Endodontics is one of the nine fields of dental specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. It involves treatment of the pulp (tooth nerves) and other surrounding tissues of the tooth. This usually includes the removal of diseased, decayed or otherwise damaged tissue to save the tooth from extraction and prevent further damage from occurring.
What is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dental specialist who has completed up to two years of additional training following dental school. Endodontists are specifically trained to treat problems involving disease, decay and infection in the pulp and inner tissues of the tooth. This includes root canal therapy, treatment for deep decay and cracks, abscessed teeth and teeth that have been traumatized.
Why might I need an endodontist?
When bacteria are introduced into the pulp of a tooth by tooth decay, periodontal disease, fractured or broken teeth, or other factors, it can cause infection and other damage. An endodontist is trained to remove the damaged pulp in order to save the tooth and help prevent further infection and inflammation so that the tooth can continue to function normally and without pain.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure performed when injury, infection or decay reach the inner tissues of the tooth. Our endodontist will clean out the infected pulp tissue within your tooth roots, sterilize the canals, then fill them with medicated material and seal the tooth to prevent future infection. While root canals have a reputation of being painful, advances in dentistry have made it possible to perform your treatment comfortably as well as effectively.
Does root canal therapy require multiple appointments to complete?
Not usually. Thanks to advances in treatment techniques and dental technology, most root canal treatments can be completed in one or two visits to our office.
How can endodontic treatment save my tooth?
By removing the inflamed and infected dental pulp from your tooth and carefully cleaning it, our endodontist can restore your tooth to full function. After you have received a root canal treatment, including having a crown or other restoration placed on top of the treated tooth, your tooth should function without discomfort for many years to come.
Even with a root canal, will my tooth eventually need to be extracted?
No. If your tooth is properly restored and you maintain good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly, your natural tooth can last for the rest of your life.
Are there alternatives to root canal therapy?
Not usually. If a dentist recommends a root canal, it is because they think that your tooth can be saved. Often the only alternative to a root canal is an extraction.
Is having a tooth extracted a better option than a root canal?
Tooth extractions are always the last resort. Our goal is always to help you preserve and protect your natural teeth, as keeping your teeth for as long as possible is important for proper eating and chewing functions, and promotes good long-term oral health. There are a number of options available for replacing missing teeth, including dentures, implants and dental bridges, but these alternatives may be more expensive than saving your tooth with endodontic treatment.
What are some signs that I may need a root canal?
There are a few common symptoms that may indicate if you need a root canal treatment. These include:
Do children ever need root canals?
It may occasionally be necessary for a child to receive a root canal treatment if their dental pulp becomes infected or decayed. This treatment is known as a pulpotomy, or baby tooth root canal. There are several other conservative treatments that our endodontist may also recommend if your child needs endodontic care.
What is root canal retreatment, and when might I need it?
Root canal retreatment is the exact same procedure as your original root canal. This treatment may be necessary if bacteria and infection re-enters the tooth or if hidden canals inside the tooth were not treated initially. While we do everything possible to prevent the need for retreatment, it may sometimes become necessary to prevent an extraction.
How much does root canal therapy cost?
The cost of your treatment will depend on the extent of the damage. Our office will provide you with a cost estimate of your treatment during your initial consultation, and will work with you to maximize your insurance benefits.