We take every measure to ensure that your procedure is not uncomfortable or painful. If treatment is needed, we will inject a small amount of anesthesia to gently numb a concentrated area of your mouth. For most patients, the feeling of numbness usually subsides after 2-3 hours.
The procedure we call a root canal is the process of removing inflamed or necrotic (dead) tissue from the space within the tooth. During this process it is disinfected to reduce the number of bacteria as much as possible. After the canal space is cleaned and dried it is filled with a root canal filling material to minimize the re-entry of bacteria.
Your jaw may be sore and your lip may be numb, but you should be in good shape to continue your regular schedule. I don’t recommend leaving your appointment and going straight to an important lunch meeting. In terms of your schedule, it should be no different than getting a filling or a crown.
In most cases, you will be referred back to your general dentist who will assure the tooth has an adequate permanent restoration. Most back teeth will require a crown if there is not already one in place. In this office, a permanent filling is often placed (instead of a temporary) to assure the tooth is adequately sealed. We will assure that you are informed of the next step in your dental treatment. If you have received a temporary filling in our office, and your root canal is completed, I recommend getting the permanent filling within three weeks.
If you already have a crown, most of the time the root canal will be done through a small opening in the top. Your dentist will need to repair the opening after your root canal is completed. A new crown may be needed if there are imperfections that do not lead to predictable dental health. Crowns with porcelain (tooth colored crowns) are susceptible to fracture of the porcelain (happens less than 5% of the time). If the porcelain fractures in a way that the crown is no longer functional or visually pleasing, then replacing the crown may be necessary.
Yes. For most root canal treatments we recommend that patients return to the office one year after the procedure was finished. Our office will send a reminder notice when you are due for a recall appointment. There is no charge for the follow-up visit.
More than half of the root canals done in this office are done in one visit. Many are done in two visits due to severe pain, swelling, persistent drainage or complex anatomy. A second or third visit does not mean you will pay more. It just means that we want to give you the best quality root canal – regardless of the number of visits it will require.
If you have not had your tooth permanently restored in a timely manner, the canal system may have become re-infected with bacteria. In this case a re-treatment may restore your tooth to health. In most cases you will need to pay for the cost of re-treatment, so getting the tooth restored early is a wise use of resources. The rate of fracture for an unrestored root canal treated tooth is very high. If the tooth has cracked then it may not be restorable, and you will lose what you have invested.
What constitutes life is a great question for a philosophy class, and if you argue that the tooth was never alive, then it is possible that it could never die. Your tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold, but it will still have feeling due to the bone and ligament that hold your tooth in the jaw.
Many patients ask if they can come to me for all of their dental work. The answer is that I specialize in root canal therapy and limit my practice to that area of dentistry. Out of respect for your dentist who has referred you to us, we will return you to their care. If you do not have a dentist, then we can help you find an appropriate match.
Only when it must be done immediately and you can not be seen by your dentist or an oral surgeon. Since an implant may be placed in the site where the tooth is being removed, I often recommend that the person placing the implant to be the one removing the tooth. This way the site will be prepared in a way that is familiar to the person placing the implant.
The fees in our office are on par with those throughout the Denver area. The cost of treatment is due to the high cost of dental supplies, the years of training it took to gain a mastery of the procedure, and employing our superior assistants and administrative staff. If the cumulative cost of your dental treatment is not financially feasible, consult with our financial manager who will familiarize you with some programs to help finance the cost of your dental care.
I understand that you want to spend as little time in the dental chair as possible. Like most medical procedures, however, the idea that faster is better is false (in most cases). You would never tell a cardiologist to do your bypass as fast as possible. Instead, you would want them to do their best work possible, no matter how long it takes. If your root canal is longer than expected, it is because we are concerned with the quality of care you are receiving, and we are trying to treat the entire anatomy present in your tooth. I re-treat many root canals that were done by a fast-paced practitioner oblivious to the nuances that make root canal therapy successful.
Use of a microscope adds superior lighting and magnification while treating your tooth. From the time I started my endodontic training, I have considered the microscope a necessity in providing top-quality care. Take away my scope and I quit! 🙂
Teeth are often uncomfortable after a root canal, and discomfort usually peaks about two days after treatment. It is common for the tooth to still be a little uncomfortable for a week or so. What is important is that we see the tooth getting better over time.
Unless there are special conditions that interfere, (ask your physician) I usually recommend 600-800 mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or generic) about every 6 hours. If you are still uncomfortable despite the ibuprofen, then take about 1000mg of Tylenol (acetaminophen) along with the ibuprofen. If you have been given a prescription for either Vicodin or Percocet, then you may take that with the ibuprofen instead of the Tylenol.
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry dealing with the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of compromised and infected dental pulp. In the past, diseased and injured teeth were typically removed. Today, we can treat these previously unsalvageable teeth with root canal therapy. Root canal therapy involves removing the nerve, blood vessels and lymph tissue, comprising the dental pulp, and replacing it with suitable filling material. Dentists that specialize in root canal treatment are called Endodontists.