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FAQ's

FAQ's

More than 14 million teeth receive Endodontic treatment each year. If you've never had an Endodontic (root canal) treatment, or, if it has been several years since your last procedure, you may have questions or outdated expectations.

WHAT IS AN ENDODONTIST?

An Endodontist specializes in Endodontics, and performs Endodontic (root canal) treatment. After completing Dental school, they attend an advanced dental school program for two or three more years, called an advanced specialty education program. Through study only about root canal treatment and advanced Endodontic techniques, you receive all the benefits of this extensive training!

An Endodontist also specializes and is experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that is difficult to diagnose. With advanced surgical and non-surgical skills an Endodontist is uniquely qualified to treat routine as well as complex cases, such as extreme pain, the medically compromised patient, oral trauma, and the perplexing anatomic problems of tooth curvature and calcification.

Members of the American Association of Endodontists uphold an ethics and professional conduct code that puts the highest quality patient care at the forefront of their practices. The American Dental Association recognizes dentists who have limited their practice to “Endodontics,” one of eight specialty areas of dentistry.

Endodontists also attend continuing education courses after they are in practice, so they are knowledgeable about state-of-the-art research, clinical procedures, and technology. That's why most people report that having a root canal today is as unremarkable as having a cavity filled.

WHAT IS ENDODONTIC ROOT CANAL THERAPY?

To understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. A soft tissue called the pulp is inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard, thicker layer called the dentin. The pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves, creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.

The pulp extends from the crown, or chewing portion of the tooth, to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth's growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature, it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding the tooth.

WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR ENDODONTIC TREATMENT?

Endodontic treatment is usually required when there is pain or swelling, which indicates an inflamed or infected nerve. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or a blow to the tooth. Root canal therapy will alleviate the pain or swelling and keep the tooth an integral part of your dentition. Sometimes a tooth can be chronically infected and not cause any discomfort, but this can often be detected with x-rays and careful examination.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF NEEDING ENDODONTIC TREATMENT?

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

HOW DOES ENDODONTIC TREATMENT SAVE THE TOOTH?

Dr. Tsoucaris removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you return to your general dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.

WILL I FEEL PAIN DURING OR AFTER THE PROCEDURE?

While many patients may be in great pain before seeing an Endodontist, most report that the pain is relieved and that they are comfortable during the procedure. Because the tooth and its surrounding structures have been affected by disease that was present in the pulp, and treatment of the tooth may also produce temporary irritation, you may notice some mild discomfort following your root canal therapy. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Should severe pain or swelling develop, contact our office immediately.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROCEDURE COST?

Fees for Endodontic procedures are based on the time and extent of treatment required. The cost varies depending on how severe the problem is and which tooth is affected. Many dental insurance policies cover Endodontic treatment. Generally, treatment and restoration of your natural tooth is less expensive than alternative treatment options of implant, bridge, or removable partial denture.

WILL THE TOOTH NEED ANY SPECIAL CARE OR ADDITIONAL TREATMENT?

You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your general dentist because it could fracture. Otherwise, just practice good oral hygiene-brushing, flossing and regular checkups and cleanings. When your teeth are treated by Dr. Tsoucaris, they can last for many years, or even a lifetime!

WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING MY OFFICE VISIT?

First, you are brought into a treatment room where digital x-rays are taken. Although you may have brought films from your referring dentist, we must take radiographs at several different angles to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

- Dr. Tsoucaris will study the x-rays, examine the area, perform pulp vitality tests, and discuss with you the diagnosis and treatment options.
- If you decide to proceed with treatment at this time, Dr. Tsoucaris administers anesthesia to numb the area.
- A protective shield is placed around the affected tooth to keep it clean and dry.
- A small opening is made through the surface of the tooth into the pulp chamber, the diseased pulp is removed, and the root canal(s) cleaned and disinfected.
- An antibacterial medication may be placed into the root canal(s), and temporary filling is placed in the tooth to keep it sealed between appointments.
- During your follow-up visit(s), we continue to clean and shape the root canal(s), and seal them to prevent re-infection.
- It is critical for you to return to your general dentist for final restoration of the tooth.
- With proper restoration and care- your tooth will remain healthy and can last a lifetime.
- One year after completion of your endodontic treatment, we will send a reminder card asking you to make an appointment for an x-ray and exam to check for complete healing of the affected area. There is not a fee for this visit.

WHAT IS ENDODONTIC RE-TREATMENT?

If you have a tooth that has had Endodontic (root canal) treatment, it can last as long as your natural teeth. In some cases, however, complete healing may not occur. There may be new problems months or even years after the initial treatment. When this happens, it is sometimes possible for Dr. Tsoucaris to perform the treatment again with more successful results. This process is called re-treatment.

WHAT IS ENDODONTIC SURGERY (APICOECTOMY)?

An apicoectomy is the most common endodontic surgical procedure. This procedure is used to remove
infection or inflammation from the bony area around the end of your tooth.
Dr. Tsoucaris starts by opening the gum tissue near the tooth. This allows him or her to see the underlying bone. Next, Dr. Tsoucaris will remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed.
After the inflamed or infected tissue is removed, a small filling may be placed in the root-end
to seal the root canal. A few stitches are placed in the gum to help the tissue heal properly.
Within a few months, the bone heals around the end of the root.

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