Can all teeth be treated and saved endodontically?
Most teeth can be treated endodontically. At times, a tooth cannot be saved because there is inadequate tooth structure to restore the tooth, the root canals are blocked or inaccessible, the root is fractured, or the tooth doesn't have adequate bone support. However, endodontic advancements are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. And, when endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be considered as an alternative to maintain the tooth.
What are the alternatives to endodontic treatment?
When the root canal system of a tooth becomes infected, the alternative to endodontic treatment is extraction of the tooth. To restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, the extracted tooth should ideally be replaced with an implant or bridge or a partial denture. This requires surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth and can be far more costly and time-consuming than endodontic treatment and restoration of the natural tooth.
Will my tooth last forever after treatment?
Endodontic treatment has been reported to have a high healing rate. Many factors influence the treatment outcome: the patient's general and oral health, bone support around the tooth, strength of the tooth, presence of fracture lines, shape and condition of the root and nerve canal(s) and continued follow-up care with your general dentist. Although we cannot guarantee the successful outcome of root canal procedures, you can be assured that the most advanced techniques will be performed to ensure the best prognosis possible.
What will happen to my tooth after root canal therapy?
The post-endodontic restoration is considered to be just as important as the endodontic procedure itself, since it will ensure the structural integrity or the tooth and prevent further infection. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a permanent restoration as soon as possible. It will be necessary for you to have a permanent filling placed and often a crown will be recommended for the tooth. Your dentist will assist you in choosing the most suitable kind of restoration.
Will I feel pain during or after the treatment?
Most endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and adequate local anesthesia, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist's instructions carefully.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatments is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
How much will the procedure cost?
The cost varies depending on how severe the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat and usually cost more. Most dental insurance policies provide some level of coverage for endodontic treatment.
Why can't I use antibiotics to make the abscess go away?
Unfortunately, when a tooth is infected, the blood supply (pulp) running through the tooth is affected as well. As a result, it is not possible for oral antibiotics to reach the needed area. They do however, assist in controlling and eliminating acute infection in the surrounding bone before and after root canal therapy.
Are dental x-rays safe?
Today, more than ever, patients are concerned about the safety of X-Rays in general, as well as the need for them in the dental office. With today's X-ray machines producing minimal radiation recent studies have shown that there is no risk of long term adverse affects to patients.
What about infection control?
Reducing the chance of spreading infectious diseases has always been the "highest priority" of the dental profession. Our office uses comprehensive infection control procedures which comply with, and exceed the "universal precautions" set and regulated by government and professional agencies.
We routinely monitor our infection control policies and ensure that upgrades to material and equipment, as well as training in their use, is an on going process.
Many of our control procedures are visible; gloved hands, protective masks and eyewear and freshly laundered uniforms.
What may not be visible to our patients is the sophisticated state-of-the-art sterilization of all instruments, including handpieces, disinfection of all surfaces, and disposal of contaminated waste into special containers which are then discarded according to government regulations.