Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen at my appointment?
We will take 2D and 3D images of the area in question and visit with you about the history of the problem. We will perform a thorough exam and determine a diagnosis and then discuss your options, which will always include no treatment. If treatment is your best option and if you desire to proceed, your tooth will be profoundly anesthetized and we will precisely clean the inside of the tooth. EVERY case will be treated with our state-of-the-art laser. It is painless and there is nothing proven to be better than the laser to clean your tooth. We will then seal the canals with a biocompatible, hypoallergenic material. The opening in your tooth will be temporarily sealed in preparation for your next visit with your comprehensive dentist.
What should I expect after my endodontic therapy?
Thorough post-op instructions will be given to you orally and in writing. You will be anesthetized (numb) for several hours. You will need to be careful not to bite your tongue or cheek while you are numb. As it is normal to be sore following the treatment, you will be advised to initiate over-the-counter pain relievers while still numb and for a few days following the treatment. Your post-operative discomfort level is almost solely dependent on the type of disease in your tooth and the surrounding area prior to treatment. If your tooth was temperature sensitive, but not sore to biting, you will have very little discomfort. However, if your tooth was already painful or dead on the inside and infected there is much more variability in how you will feel following the treatment. The symptoms could range from very comfortable to significant discomfort with pain and swelling, depending on how your immune system addresses the problem outside the tooth as it begins to heal. In most cases you will be feeling normal within several days and will need to be cautious of your tooth if it is a back tooth and does not already have a crown. We strongly recommend that your follow-up visit with your comprehensive dentist is arranged before you leave our office.
Will I need pain medication?
Over the counter pain medications, such as aspirin, Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Nuprin, Motrin), or Naproxen Sodium (Aleve) provide excellent relief. Some evidence suggests that taking one of the above pain relievers before the anesthetic wears off and continuing for several days as directed on the medication label may substantially decrease your after¬treatment discomfort.
Do I need antibiotics?
In most cases, antibiotics are not required after endodontic therapy. You will be given a prescription for antibiotics if we feel it is necessary. Women only: Antibiotics may interfere with oral birth control medications resulting in pregnancy. We suggest alternative birth control methods be used during this cycle. If you are unsure, please contact your physician.
How should I take care of my tooth?
Avoid biting or chewing on the tooth for at least an hour following your treatment so the temporary filling can harden. If your tooth does not already have a crown, avoid chewing as much as possible and don't chew anything hard until you have seen your comprehensive dentist to minimize the chance of cracking your tooth.
Why do I need to return to my family dentist?
When we finish endodontic (root canal) therapy, we usually put a temporary fIlling in the crown of the tooth, unless your dentist has requested that we place a permanent filling. The type of restoration will depend on the location and condition of the tooth. It is important that you see your family dentist promptly because a temporary filling will eventually leak. Failure to visit your comprehensive dentist in a timely manner, (usually within 4-6 weeks) for a permanent restoration may result in reinfection that would require retreatment of your tooth at an additional cost or possibly severe pain and infection or loss of the tooth.
How long will my tooth last?
With proper care, your restored tooth can last a lifetime if healing is adequate. Teeth treated with endodontic therapy can still decay and develop periodontal disease. As with other teeth, proper dental care requires regular brushing and flossing, a nutritious diet and regular visits to your comprehensive dentist.