Still have questions?
Did my temporary filling come out?
Chances are your temporary filling did not all fall out. The top layers of the material do wear away the first few weeks after it is placed. The material we use is a putty material that sets up over the 30-45 minutes following your root canal therapy appointment. It is completely normal for a portion or layer of this material to naturally divot or wear away. When you look in the mirror at the tooth that was treated you should be able to see a grey or “tooth colored” material. Even if it feels different to your tongue, the filling is still there if you can see the grey material. If it all came out you would see more of a black area that is noticeably different than the surrounding tooth structure. Of course if you are concerned, please give us a call! We can always replace your temporary filling free of charge in our office.
How does root canal therapy work? What is a root canal?
Root Canal Therapy (endodontics) is simply a filling for your roots. The objective in a root canal therapy procedure is to clean out the canals inside your roots where your nerve tissue resides. Your canals are located in the root or roots of your tooth and we gain access to these canals through a small opening we make on the chewing surface of your tooth. At this point our focus is on cleaning out the canals and shaping them to better house the filling material we place at the end of the procedure. Once the canals are cleaned out to an appropriate length we permanently fill the canals with an inert biocompatible rubber material called gutta-percha. We will then temporarily fill the top portion of the tooth that is visible in the mouth and you have 6 weeks to get into your dentist for them to permanently restore the tooth.
Will I need someone to drive me home?
No. We will numb you just like your General Dentist does for a filling. We start with a topical numbing gel for the gums before the local anesthetic.
Can you put me to sleep?
We cannot put patients “to sleep”, but for those who are more nervous we do offer Conscious Sedation for an additional cost. For appointments like these we will ALWAYS start with a separate evaluation appointment. At this appointment we will have you fill out an extensive health history. Once we determine what work is needed we schedule you for the treatment. Between your evaluation appointment and your treatment appointment the Doctor will review your medical information and decide the best way to proceed with your conscious sedation appointment. We then call you with that information and directions for your treatment appointment.
Why doesn't/can't my regular dentist do this?
Much like specialists in the medical field, there are specialists in the dental field. Our doctors receive additional education after dental school where the focus is strictly on the root canal system. In addition, we utilize microscopes to help better locate additional smaller canals in the tooth that can be easily overlooked by many experienced doctors without the proper tools. Your general dentist sending you to a specialist doesn’t mean they can’t do it, it just means they want you to be treated by someone who spent extra schooling and focus on the root canal system specifically.
Is there anything I can do to prevent root canals in the future?
Preventing the need for root canal therapy starts with regular visits to your General Dentist. Maintaining a healthy smile is the first step in preventing yourself from the necessity of future dental treatments.
Is this a one appointment procedure?
Typically initial root canal therapy is a one appointment procedure; however in some cases two appointments may be necessary. To achieve proper sealing with root canal therapy we must dry your tooth out to place and permanently seal the root canal filling materials. If we are unable to completely dry the tooth out we will place a medicine in the roots that help us achieve the necessary results to finish your treatment. At this point we will fill your tooth temporarily and reschedule your finish visit for 1-2 weeks later. This allows the medicine to do some continued disinfecting, to allow resolution of the infection and success of the treatment.
Could I owe more than the estimate I was quoted?
Yes. The estimates we get are only estimates. We do you the courtesy of contacting your insurance 1-2 days before your appointment (this ensures the most accurate and up to date estimate possible). We find out how much of your yearly maximum is remaining and what percentage your plan will pay for endodontic treatment. This information allows us to estimate what you will owe, but it is not a guarantee that you will not owe more. We only want to charge you what your insurance company dictates you owe, which is why we choose to get your benefits, versus collecting the full amount up front and refunding you once they pay. We are happy to relay your insurance benefits to you and submit them to your insurance company for processing, but it is still the responsibility of each patient to be aware of your plan coverage and remaining benefits.
How long do root canals usually take?
An initial root canal therapy appointment is scheduled for 1 hour and 15 minutes. A retreatment of root canal therapy is scheduled for 1 hour the first visit and 45 minutes to an hour for the second.
Will this tooth need a crown afterwards?
This question is answered best by your general dentist. They are the restorative specialist. After the root canal therapy is complete, you will either need a restoration or a restoration and crown. You will have 6 weeks to get in with your general dentist for the permanent restoration. Each tooth and treatment is unique.
What caused this to happen?
This is a very broad question that we receive daily, however answering that without getting an x-ray and doing an evaluation on your specific tooth would be a disservice. Each treatment is different than the one before it. Just like each cause for a root canal is different than the one before it. If you have questions please feel free to call and schedule an evaluation so we can help get you the answers you want!