What Is Endodontic Treatment/Root Canal And Why Do I Need One?

More commonly known as a root canal, endodontic treatment refers to a procedure that is directed at the interior of the tooth.  This form of treatment becomes necessary when infection or inflammation of the pulp of the tooth occurs.  This condition can come from a number of causes, from deep tooth decay, leaking restorations, a crack or chip in the tooth, or repeated procedures on the same tooth.  In some cases, trauma can lead to damage to the pulp even if no visible damage can be seen.  Untreated, these conditions can cause pain or an abscess.

Why Should I See An Endodontist?

An endodontist is a dental specialist who has spent an additional two or more years in training focused on endodontic procedures.  These specialists employ state-of-the-art technology and techniques to perform their work, including operating microscopes, 3-Dimensional digital imaging, fiber optics and ultrasonic instrumentation to quickly and efficiently see to their patient’s needs.

I’m Concerned About X-Rays, Is There A Reason To Be?

X-rays will be necessary during your treatment, but there’s no reason to concern yourself with them.  We use a specialized form of computerized imaging system that employs digital radiography, requiring 90% less radiation than traditional dental x-ray machinery

My Tooth Isn’t Causing Me Any Pain, Do I Still Need A Root Canal?

It’s not uncommon for a patient to have been experiencing pain that is relieved with antibiotics, however, the underlying condition still exists.  An infection can occur and remain without causing any discomfort, yet can be dangerous to the patient.  In many cases the patient doesn’t experience any pain prior to the discovery of the need for a root canal through routine radiographs or examination.

What About Extracting The Tooth? Would That Be A Better Alternative?

It is our goal to save your natural teeth if at all possible, as nothing presently available can completely replace your natural teeth.  Maintaining your own teeth is important to ensure you continue to enjoy your favorite foods, as well as those necessary for proper nutrition.  Endodontic treatment is pain-free in most cases and has a very high success rate.  A large number of root canal treated teeth continue serving the patient for the rest of their lives.  Bridges and implants require significantly longer treatment periods with additional opportunities for complications, and these restorations are not necessarily life-long solutions.  Our philosophy is to maintain the natural teeth for as long as is feasible and utilize alternatives when that is no longer possible.

How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

A root canal will generally take 1-2 hours to complete and will be completed in one visit in many cases.  In certain cases, a subsequent visits may be necessary.

Will The Treatment Be Painful?

Modern root canals are generally no more uncomfortable than receiving a filling.  The whole purpose of a root canal is to relieve existing pain, and technological advances have made the experience almost entirely pain free.  Part of an endodontist’s training involves pain management, just one more reason to see a specialist for this procedure.  The vast majority of patients report being comfortable throughout the procedure.

Will I Need To Return To Your Office For Follow-Ups?

You will need at least one follow-up after your procedure to ensure that the root canal is healing properly.  In certain circumstances, more follow-ups may be necessary in order to facilitate a proper and healthy recovery from your procedure.

Do You Take Insurance?

Harkrider Endodontics is happy to file insurance reimbursements for any plan, and will do everything within our power to ensure that you are able to take advantage of the full scope of your coverage.  We are also in-network, preferred providers with a number of insurance companies.

What Payment Methods Do You Accept?

In addition to accepting qualified insurances, we also accept payment in the form of cash and most major credit cards, as well as Care Credit.  Your payments are due at the time the service is provided unless arrangements are made in advance.

Do You Offer Any Kind Of Financing?

Harkrider Endodontics is happy to provide financing through Care Credit, as well as in-house financing under certain circumstances.  In most instances any non-covered payments will be due at the time the service is provided, however, we are happy to work with patients to provide a reasonable payment schedule that fits their fiscal reality.

Do You Offer Sedation?

Sedation can be offered in the event that it is appropriate for the procedure being performed and that the patient’s health allows for the safe administration of the medications.  Root canals are typically performed under a local anesthesia, though for anxious patients measures can be taken to mitigate that anxiety to provide a relaxed and pain-free dental experience.  Speak to your dentist if you have concerns regarding sedation.

What Can Cause Root Canal Treatment To Fail?

Root canals can fail for a number of reasons, including a failure to maintain good dental hygiene following your procedure, the restoration leaking, or the sealing materials degrading or breaking down over time.  Brushing and flossing a tooth that has been the recipient of a root canal treatment is extremely important to maintain the tooth in function for years to come.

How Successful Is Root Canal Treatment?

In spite of root canal failure being a possibility, the vast majority of root canal procedures are effective.  Between 85% and 97% experience no issues at all.  In most cases, the causes of failure can be mitigated by proper postoperative care.  In rare instances, the tooth may not have the structural integrity to survive the root canal or maintain functionality long-term due to fractures in the roots.  In these infrequent cases, extraction is necessary.

Why Do I Need Endo Treatment If I’ve Already Had A Root Canal?

In the event that your previous root canal should fail, another one may be necessary to save the tooth and repair the new damage.  This can be caused by hidden roots (some teeth have extra roots and it’s possible to miss one), leaking restorations or new fractures of the teeth as described in the question above.  All of these situations can necessitate a new Endo procedure.

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