FAQ


Terre Haute Endodontics P.C.

Patricia Humphrey Clark D.D.S., M.S.D.

221 S. 19th St.

Terre Haute IN 47807

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Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents:

1.  Who performs endodontic  treatment?

2.  What is an endodontist?

3.  Why would I need endodontic treatment?

4.  What are symptoms of needing a "root canal"?

5.  How can endodontic treatment save my tooth?

6.  Will there be any pain during or after the "root canal"?

7.  Will my tooth need any special care or additional treatment?

8.  What is endodontic surgery?

9.  What can cause an endodontically treated tooth to need more treatment?

10. What will a "root canal" cost?

11. Can all teeth be treated with a "root canal"?

 

1.  Who performs endodontic  treatment?

Every dentist will have received training in endodontic treatment when they attended dental school. Many times a general dentist will prefer to refer patients to an endodontist if they are in need of a "root canal".   (Top of Page)

 

2.  What is an endodontist?

An endodontist is a  dentist who specializes in root canals.   After completing dental school,  they will attend  a post graduate dental program for two or three more years. During this time they will study endodontic treatment and learn advanced techniques so you will receive the very best care.  Endodontists are specialists who only perform endodontic procedures, both routine and complex. They are trained to diagnose and treat difficult cases of oral and facial pain. 

 (Top of Page)

 

3.  Why would I need endodontic treatment?

On occasion the pulp or nerve inside your tooth can become inflamed or infected. It might be caused by deep decay, a crack, a chip, or traumatic injury to the tooth. 

 (Top of Page)

 

 

4.  What are symptoms of needing a "root canal"?

You might be experiencing pain, sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, or swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. You may not even be aware of any symptoms but your dentist could diagnose the need for endodontic treatment by taking an x-ray and seeing a problem.   

 (Top of Page)

 

 

5.  How can endodontic treatment save my tooth?

First the endodontist will ‘numb’ the area around your tooth.  Then they will remove all of the inflamed or infected pulp.  Once the nerve is removed the canal (where the nerve was) will be carefully cleaned and shaped. The endodontist will then fill and seal this space. After treatment by the endodontist, you will return to your general dentist, who will then place a crown or other restoration on the tooth.  A crown will protect the tooth and restore it to full function.     (Top of Page)

 

6.  Will there be any pain during or after the "root canal"?

Most root canals are done to relieve pain caused by inflammation of the nerve.  A local anesthetic will be given just like when a tooth is filled.  Patients will then be comfortable during the procedure.

 

For several days after a root canal, patients may have pain due to chewing, especially if the tooth was infected before treatment.  Medication may be given to treat the infection and pain or your dentist may tell you to take an over-the-counter medication.     (Top of Page)

 

7.  Will my tooth need any special care or additional treatment?

You should not chew or bite on anything hard or crunchy until you have had the tooth restored by your general dentist. It is possible to fracture the treated tooth if you bite on anything hard. Of course you should practice good oral hygiene.  You should brush, floss and receive regular checkups and cleanings from your family dentist. There is no reason why an endodontically treated tooth can not last for many years, even a lifetime.     (Top of Page)

 

 

8.  What is endodontic surgery?

The most common endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy or root-end resection. This treatment will relieve the inflammation or infection in the bony area around the end of your tooth that persists after endodontic treatment.  The endodontist will open the gum tissue and remove the infected tissue.  Sometimes it may be necessary to remove the very end of the root.  A small filling will be placed in the canal to seal the root.  Endodontists use local anesthetics, like those used when you have a cavity filled.  It is not necessary to receive general anesthetic for this type of surgery.  Most patients return to their normal activities the next day.   (Top of Page)

 

9.  What can cause an endodontically treated tooth to need more treatment?

In a few cases a tooth that has been treated with a root canal will fail to heal.  The tooth will then need an apicoectomy or may need to be extracted.  Occasionally a tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.  If this occurs another apicoectomy procedure may save the tooth.  (Top of Page)

 

 

10. What will a "root canal" cost?

The cost depends on which tooth is treated and how difficult the treatment will be.  Molar teeth have more roots than front teeth.  They will take longer to treat and therefore will be more expensive to treat.  Retreatment may also cost more than treating the tooth the first time.   

 

Most of the time it is less expensive to do a root canal and restore the tooth than to extract the tooth and do a bridge.   (Top of Page)

 

11. Can all teeth be treated with a "root canal"?

Most teeth can be treated.  Sometimes a tooth will need to be extracted because the canals are inaccessible, the root is fractured, the tooth has periodontal bone loss, or the tooth can not be restored.    (Top of Page)

 

 

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Copyright © 2004 Terre Haute Endodontics
Last modified: 05/30/07