MY ROOT CANAL: FAQ
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving treatment of the pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Though the outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems, can severely damage the pulp. When that happens an endodontic specialist removes the diseased pulp to save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally.
I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?
Excessive radiation is always a concern. However, while x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography. It produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed, and sent to co-therapists via e-mail or CD. For more information contact DEXIS Technologies or see our “New Technologies” section below.
I’m worried about treatment. What can I do?
Popular press and comedians play on ALL our fears for a laugh. Root canals are the butt of the worst of the jokes. Rest assured modern root canal therapy should be no different for you than a routine filling. If you feel the need, oral and IV sedation techniques are always and readily available in our office. These can be further discussed during your consultation with our doctors.
During your consultation appointment the staff and doctor will be glad to address ALL your concerns.
Will treatment be the same day as my CONSULTATION visit?
Occasionally, treatment can be done the same day as the consultation but this is not a regular occurrence. Most days our schedule is already full for treatment. If we have a cancelation or an availability we will be more than happy to fit you in. However a complex medical history or treatment plan will require an evaluation and a second appointment to provide treatment on another day.
What about infection? Because of care? Because of NOT receiving care?
Again, there’s little need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.
When the inside of the tooth dies it becomes a source of infection which can move outside the tooth. The longer any dental problem persists, the more difficult treatment becomes and the more likely complications can occur. If a dental infection is left untreated the results can be more serious pain or infections which may even require hospitalization.
What about pain in my tooth after treatment?
Most patients have little or no discomfort after their root canal procedures. You will know that I was there, like any other dental procedure. There will be some tenderness in the gums around the tooth, stiff jaw muscles, and a mild inflammation around the tooth. We generally find that what ever you take for a normal headache should do well. Remember, if your tooth hurt before you came in for treatment, it will take a while to heal and feel normal again.
Click here to review our take-home pamphlet “After Your Endodontic Care”
Click here to review our information on MANAGING DISCOMFORT Before and After the procedure.
What happens to my tooth after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. Depending on your individual case, you may need to contact your restorative dentist for a follow-up restoration no later than four weeks after completion of care in our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what further type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.
Arguably the scariest words in dentistry are: “YOU need a Root Canal”
Let me assure you it does not have to be that way.
Your doctor has sent you to Endodontic Associates of Central TX for a reason.
Your referring doctor knows the kind of care that you will receive in our office.
Our office is the place YOUR doctor and their family will go if they need a root canal.
LET’S answer some frequently asked questions:
Q:Can I eat after my root canal?
A:Yes, JUST not on the affected side.
Q: Is it OK to eat before I come in?
A: Yes, AVOID lots of liquids and coffee.
Q: Can I drive and go back to work after treatment?
A: This procedure is most often NO different than a regular routine dental appointment.
Like with any long dental procedure Jaw muscles will be stressed, IF your job requires a LOT of TALKING, you should plan the rest of the day off.
Q: How long will I be numb?
A: Depending on your body metabolism – 4 to 6 hours.
Q: Can I bring my music?
A: Music with earbuds are GREAT!
There will be times when your doctor will need to speak to you during the treatment, you will just need to be able to hear from time to time.
Q: Are there types of sedation options available?
(1) Type ONE: The doctor uses their personality 🙂 (works for most but not all)
(2) Type TWO: We prescribed an oral sedative and use it in conjunction with nitrous oxide to help you throughout the procedure. This is NOT designed to put you to sleep! However having said that over half the time patients are falling asleep with type one sedation. With type two sedation this increases to about 90% of the time.
(3) Type THREE: Sedation at this level involves a dental anesthesiologist. They place a small mask over your nose and mouth to put you to sleep. The next thing you know, you wake up at home later in the day. You will rarely remember leaving the office.
Q: WHAT if I have a stuffy nose?
A: It is recommended you take a decongestant 12 to 24 hours prior to dental procedures if you have allergies and have a sinus drainage.
As noted in the orientation slide show, a cover will be placed over top of your tooth to protect it from saliva contamination. This works best if you are able to breathe through your nose. However we have other options to make this as comfortable as possible.
Q: Should I take pain medication prior to my appointment?
A: We do not generally recommend that you take any narcotic medication prior to your appointment. However any medication like Aleve, Tylenol, or Motrin will do well.
Q: Should I stop my routine prescription medications before my dental appointment?
A: NO! Unless you and your doctor have previously discussed this at your evaluation appointment. Do not stop any of your routine medications. Daily aspirin and blood thinners are not a problem for these procedures.
If you are taking a diuretic blood pressure medicine (HCTZ or Maxide) it may be prudent to wait until after the appointment to take it.
Q: How should I dress?
A: Like with any dental appointment, splashes and stains can occur. We always TRY to avoid this, but older clothes are probably best. PLAN on us mussing hair-do’s AND smearing make-up.
Q: How long will the appointment take?
A: Treatment time varies from tooth to tooth. Please ask about YOUR specific case.
Please feel free to call our office for any questions:
Harker Heights: 254-554-3636
What new technologies are being used? See our latest technology section!
1. Microscopes (AKA: Dental Operating Microscopes DOMs)
We fully utilize special dental operating microscopes. More powerful than the magnifying glasses now commonly seen in most dental offices. LED based lighting affords an unprecedented view into the tooth (23-75,000 lux). This magnification and illumination are crucial in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a video or intra-oral camera on the operating microscope may be used to record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.
2. Electronic “Digital” x-rays. 2D & 3D
You can see your conventional X-Ray on a full size computer monitor!
The multi-angle views and most importantly contrasting levels of shading of your tooth to give us the most detailed information when treating your tooth. This often times allows us to show you the problems and concerns for your tooth and the treatment challenges your tooth may present. We use only digital (computer) x-rays, documented to use 90% less exposure than a conventional film, and has NONE of the environmental concerns of using chemical based developing of a film.
3D or CBCT radiography is used for more complex concerns!
3. Electronic Apex Locators: (Clean the Whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth!)
Root canal therapy is ALL about cleaning the part of the tooth you never see and is only seen on x-rays! This technology allows us to determine the exact location of the end (terminus) of your tooth, and the optimal depth of cleansing the full extent of the infection in your tooth. Our experience and expertise in the utilization of these devices often eliminates otherwise necessary x-ray exposures.
4. Other Specialty Care Items (UltraSonics, Finer and Smaller instruments etc, etc)
As Root Canal specialists, we have all the latest and greatest items for assuring the state of the art care for your tooth and its infection. UltraSonics coupled with the use of the Dental Operating Microscope allow us to access the deep infections inside your tooth that would otherwise cause complications and decrease the success.
5. Other Resources
1. American Association of Endodontists: (AAE) GREAT ROOT CANAL INFO
Click here to learn more about ROOT CANAL: American Associations of Endodontists
then click on the “Patients” menu tab.
2. Academy of General Dentistry (AGD): GREAT OVERALL INFO
Click here to learn more about ROOT CANALS and OTHER services YOUR general dentist will provide: http://www.knowyourteeth.com/
Be sure to use the LOCATOR services section to see who is in your area.