What is a root canal & why do i need one?
Simply put, a root canal is a procedure to clean out diseased pulpal tissue and infection from the inner pulp chamber and root canal of your tooth in order to relieve pain and save your tooth. People most commonly require root canal treatment when bacteria from deep tooth decay invade the pulpal tissue and infect it. Pulpal tissue can also become painful and infected after deep fillings, crowns, when teeth sustain trauma in accidents, or if teeth begin to crack due to years of occlusal forces (aka “wear and tear”).
How long do root canals take?
Each case is unique, but typically a root canal takes between one to two hours.
How long will my mouth be numb after the procedure?
Numbness from local anesthetic usually lasts a about 2-3 hours after treatment. We recommend that you do not chew any food during this time. Soft foods and drinks are okay.
What is the recovery time involved with a root canal?
There is no recovery time. Most patients return to work immediately after treatment. Over-the-counter painkillers are helpful in reducing soreness and discomfort.
How painful is a root canal?
The idea that root canals are painful is a very common misconception. This is not the case at Modern Endodontics of Buckhead. We use the strongest local anesthetic available to virtually eliminate any procedure-related pain. This anesthetic, combined with the state-of-the-art equipment and advanced techniques used by our expert care team ensures a successful and comfortable procedure.
I have a lot of anxiety about going to the dentist. what are my options for sedation/relaxation during the procedure?
You are not alone. It is estimated that about 15% of the population avoid dental care completely due to acute anxiety, and as much as 50% of the population admit to some level of fear and apprehension when is comes to dental treatment. Today, IV sedation allows a way to provide dental treatment for these people. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only endodontic practice in the region that offers I.V. sedation in-house, which is makes it more convenient and affordable to you, the patient. During IV sedation, drugs are delivered intravenously to put you in a very relaxed state of mind. You are not quite fully asleep, but are in a much safer and more comfortable semi-awake state of tranquil relaxation. You will likely have little or no memory of the dental procedure performed because of the amnestic affects of the medications used to provide the sedation.
In patients with lower levels of anxiety, a lesser form of sedation we also offer is nitrous gas in combination with oral sedation. Medication is taken orally 1 hour before the procedure for a calming effect.
Whether you request oral or IV sedation, it is required that you first see Dr. Raymond for a consultation to determine which level of sedation best suits your needs. A driver to escort you to and from the office is also needed on the day of treatment.
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 the office 6 months or one year after the procedure was finished. Our office will send a reminder notice to you when you are due for a recall appointment. There is no charge for this visit.
The tooth is still uncomfortable a week later. is that normal?
A root canal treated tooth will not have any hot or cold sensitivity, but could be tender to touching or biting for about a week and possibly up to a month. After the root canal, your body begins the healing process and your tooth will become more comfortable over time.
I have heard of implants. are they better than root canals?
Maintaining your natural teeth is one of our priorities, but if we feel that root canal treatment is not good, predictable option for you, then a dental implant may be indicated. Implants are great for replacing missing teeth and we will recommend one if we believe that it is a better long-term investment in your health. The use of the dental operating microscope helps in predicting the outcome of treatment.
Do you take my insurance?
We understand that many of our patients want to use their dental insurance to cover their dental care needs. Our office staff is committed to working with you and your insurance company to maximize your insurance benefits. Our policy is to have our patients with insurance pay one half of the treatment cost at the time of treatment. We will file and submit your insurance claim for you as well. If your insurance company re-imburses at a higher rate, we will provide you with a refund. Occasionally, insurance companies will not cover the entire remaining balance. In these cases, you will be responsible for the remaining balance.
What if i decide not to have a root canal?
The alternative to root canal treatment is removal of the tooth. Once the pulp is affected beyond its ability to heal, it will lead to either an inflammatory response or an infective reaction. Neither is healthy, and both require some form of treatment. While some people prefer extraction, it is usually advisable to keep your natural tooth, if possible.
What is an endodontist?
Endodontists are dental specialists who focus on treating infections and injuries to the dental pulp, root and tissues surrounding the teeth. All licensed endodontists must undergo two to three years of specialized training at an accredited university after completing dental school.
Why do you use a microscope?
Dr. Raymond and his assistants use the microscope throughout every dental procedure. The microscope provides optimum visibility and illumination to give you the best treatment outcome possible. Microscopes are essential in providing endodontic treatment at the highest level, and they have numerous clinical benefits:
- The microscope allows for the use of smaller instruments and more precision during treatment. Conservation of tooth structure is the key to the best, longest-lasting outcomes.
- The increased magnification of the microscope allows Dr. Raymond to minimize the size of the operative site, thereby minimizing healing time.
- The microscope allows Dr. Raymond to identify tooth canals and locate problems such as cracks and root fractures.
- The use of the microscope increases efficiency and often saves you from additional and more complex procedures
What are my options if the root canal fails?
In the very rare case that the root canal is not successful, a retreatment may be necessary to clear out any infected pulp that may have been left in the tooth. In the extremely rare case that both a root canal and retreatment are unsuccessful, an apicoectomy may be necessary.
What is dental pulp?
Dental pulp is made up of a mass of nerves, blood vessels, and other cells and fibers located inside the center of the tooth. It can become infected when bacteria in the mouth and saliva enter the tooth through decay, a deep filling, or a crack caused by accidental injury or years of wear and tear.
When dental pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it may need to be removed through a root canal.
What is gutta percha?
Gutta-Percha is the filling most commonly used by endodontists to seal the area where the dental pulp used to be. It is a safe, natural, and biocompatible material made from the sap of the tropical gutta-percha tree.
What is the success rate for root canals?
Root canal therapy is usually very successful on the first treatment. Most studies show the success rate of root canals to be at as high as 95 percent.
When can i start chewing with my treated tooth?
We recommend that you only start chewing on the treated tooth when a either a crown is paced by your dentist or you’ve had the crown properly repaired by your dentist. Please make an appointment to have this done soon after your root canal treatment. If you wait too long to have a crown placed on your tooth or your crown repaired, there is a high risk of re-contaminating the tooth. Re-contamination could lead to poor healing and the need for another root canal and in severe cases, the tooth may need to be extracted.
will my tooth become discolored after a root canal?
This is very unlikely with our modern techniques. Occasionally, we will see patients with old root canals that have resulted in tooth discoloration. In these cases, we can do an internal tooth bleaching procedure to restore the tooth to a healthy white.