If your dentist has mentioned the possibility of referring you to an endodontist, you’ve probably got a ton of questions going through your mind concerning what to expect. Following is a list of questions and answers designed to help patients such as yourselves understand the basics of root canal and what to expect from treatment by one of these dental professionals.
Who is an Endodontist?
Endodontists are root canal specialists who concentrate on saving teeth as an alternative to pulling them and replacing them with artificial materials. Those practicing endodontics have two or more years of schooling beyond general dental school, and only three percent of dentists are also endodontists. This additional training provides a focus on root canals diagnostic techniques and treatments involving the soft tissue found in the interior of the teeth. The word endodontist is derived from the combination of the Greek terms “endo” and “odont,” which mean, respectively, inside and tooth.
What Training Do Endodontists Receive?
Endodontists receive in-depth education concerning root canal treatment techniques and diagnostic procedures, which is why regular dentists often refer their patients with complex or even fairly simple root canal issues to them. In many cases, teeth that would otherwise be replaced can be preserved by treatment from an experienced endodontist. Many general dentists partner with a qualified endodontist to ensure that patients receive the best possible quality of care.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
Endodontists provide root canal therapy designed to save the patient’s teeth and to prevent the problem from happening again. This treatment is necessary when the inner pulp of a tooth or several teeth become infected — if left untreated, this condition may result not only in the loss of teeth but may also cause the infection to spread to surrounding tissue. These procedures are often far from simple, and many of them require multiple visits to the endodontist’s office. However, if your general dentist has discovered the problem before it has had a chance to progress too far, there’s a good chance the situation may be resolved in one visit to an endodontist. Here’s what you can expect from a typical endodontic procedure after your general dentist has referred you to a specialist.
Is There Anesthesia Involved?
You’ll likely receive a local anesthetic via injection designed to minimize any discomfort or pain the procedure may cause. The affected tooth or teeth with then are isolated with the use of something referred to as a rubber dam. Although these are made of latex, your endodontist should be able to provide you with a non-latex rubber damn if allergies are a part of the picture. The object of the rubber dam is to keep the tooth or teeth involved clean, dry, and isolated from the rest of your mouth while the work is in progress.
While you are under anesthesia, the root canal specialist will drill into the affected tooth or teeth and remove the pulp and the surrounding nerves with specially designed instruments. Keep in mind that none of this will be painful because your tooth and the surrounding area will be rendered completely numb by the anesthesia. Once the nerves are removed, the tooth won’t be able to experience feeling at all.
Do I Need Antibiotics After Root Canal Treatments?
After the pulp and nerves have been removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned out using an antibacterial solution for the purpose of preventing post-operative infections. The endodontist will then use specially designed instruments to shape your root canals in preparation for them to be filled and sealed. Your endodontist will prepare a filling that will fit exactly into your root canal out of a thermoplastic material known as gutta-percha. Once the prepared canal space is filled, your endodontist will then seal it using an adhesive cement. Proper sealing is an important part of this procedure because it prevents the area from becoming recontaminated with bacteria. The dental dam is then removed, and your endodontist may prescribe an antibiotic as a final layer of protection against postoperative infection.
Why Should You Choose an Endodontist?
The most obvious reason for choosing an endodontist is so you can benefit from the additional experience, education, and expertise. After all, most people wouldn’t want their family doctors to perform heart surgery or any other specialized procedure on them, so why should your dental care be any different? Because contemporary root canal treatments and procedures have evolved to where they’re beyond the scope of the average dentist, it’s wise to ensure the best possible outcome by choosing a qualified endodontist.
How Do You Choose an Endodontist?
Your general dentist will most likely refer you to an endodontist who he or she knows and trusts. However, you should feel free to ask for several recommendations if you’d prefer a greater part in the decision-making process. Most patients prefer an endodontist with experience and a good professional reputation in the community. Selecting an endodontist who is a member of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) ensures that you’ll be taken care of by a professional in good standing. The AAE provides its members with information on state-of-the-art technology about endodontics and promotes the highest professional standards concerning patient care.
What Is The Cost Of Root Canal Treatment?
Like all medical procedures, costs of root canal therapy performed by an endodontist will vary as a result of several different factors. The root canal treatment cost is usually about $600 to $1400. For instance, a fairly simple procedure that only requires one visit will cost substantially less than one that involves several separate trips to the endodontist’s office. Costs may also depend on whether other conditions exist that might make the surgery more complicated. Your endodontist should be able to provide you with an accurate picture of what the overall cost will be for the procedure.
Are Payment Plans Available?
Payment plans are available for our patients. Please feel free to reach out to us at your convenience to discuss your options concerning payment plans.
Please contact us for more information on how the services of professional endodontists can improve your dental health and elevate your quality of life.
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