ENDODONTIC FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Endodontics is a specialty branch of dentistry involving the treatment of the tooth’s root and surrounding tissues. Basically, we’re dentists who have trained as root canal experts!
And that means we go deep. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, you’re only looking at the crown. The rest of the tooth, hidden beneath your gums, is called the root. This is our jam.
Let’s explore a little deeper. The tissues, nerves, and blood vessels within the root form a pulp. This pulp can get infected from tooth decay, tooth fractures, gum disease, and other problems. If the pulp becomes damaged severely enough from this bacteria, an endodontist will remove the diseased pulp in order to save the tooth and prevent further infection. The process of pulp removal is called a root canal.
Think of your tooth like a Twinkie! The cream inside is dirty, so we clean it out, put in fresh cream, and seal it up. A root canal can relieve your pain and bring you back to health.
When you suffer from tooth decay, a cavity, a crack, or injury, this can allow harmful bacteria to invade the pulp of your tooth. This infection to the tooth’s nerve is what causes so much dental pain. If it isn’t treated in a timely manner, it can lead to serious illness and health complications.
If this is your scenario, you probably have two treatment options: have a root canal, or have the tooth extracted (removed).
As endodontists, we’re biased towards root canals… but so is the science! Whenever you can save your natural teeth, it’s better for your oral and overall health.
Sadly, over the years, misinformation has given root canals a bad reputation. As a result, some people wonder why they need a root canal if there’s no way to completely rid the tooth of bacteria. The answer is that not all bacteria is bad—in fact, some of it is necessary for your health! When performed properly, a root canal will protect your tooth against bad bacteria that cause infection, while allowing you to keep your natural tooth, because your immune system will handle the rest of your healing on its own after your procedure!
Not to mention, with the technology we have at Ballantyne Endodontics, we can keep your root canal procedure relatively painless!
If you’re heading on a road trip, you probably want to set up your GPS first, right? It’s the same for us. We need to understand what’s going on in your mouth before we start treatment.
We are committed to providing you with an accurate and efficient diagnosis with an initial orientation. We take into consideration information from your referring dentist, as well as our high-tech imaging, diagnostic tests, and your tooth story.
Once we diagnose your tooth, the orientation has even more benefits for you.
It allows us to get to know you better, discover any medical concerns you have or anxiety about your procedure you may be facing. We will explain all aspects of your treatment in detail, from what to expect during the procedure to how much it will cost, so that there are no surprises when treatment begins. Plus, we’ll make alterations to your treatment plan, as needed, to keep you comfortable and anxiety-free. We want it to be a smooth experience for you.
We believe that the relationship between an endodontist and a patient really matters for the success of your treatment.
We are required to take x-rays (or radiographs) of all our patients during their consultations, even if they have already had x-rays performed with their general dentist or other specialists. This is because our x-rays are more comprehensive than the ones your general dentist takes, allowing us to see your tooth from more angles. Everything we do, as endodontists, deals with the inside of your tooth, so our comprehensive imaging lets us see the interior and make an accurate diagnosis, so we can decide on the best treatment plan for you.
If you’re concerned about receiving radiation from x-rays, we want to give you peace of mind that your health and safety is our top priority.
At Ballantyne Endodontics, we use digital radiography: an advanced, non-film, computerized system that produces radiation levels up to 90% lower than those of low-dose conventional x-ray machinery. For your convenience, these digital images can be optimized, archived, printed, and sent to referring doctors over email.
We may also use other imaging software that is completely safe, including our state-of-the-art 3D Cone Beam technology.
Not at all! This is extremely rare!
Sometimes, people can experience a post-operative flare-up due to a procedure. There are different possible reasons for this, such as a patient’s own immune response. About one in ten patients whose x-ray shows a “black shadow” around the root of the tooth can have some pain and swelling after the root canal (called a post-operative flare-up), but this is just how some people heal. It is nothing to be concerned about and can be addressed with antibiotics and/or steroids. Simply call our office if this occurs in your case.
We use autoclave sterilization within our procedure, as well as barrier techniques to reduce the risk of infection to as little as possible. Plus, we always stick to infection control standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and American Dental Association (ADA).
We know how important your health is, and it’s our top priority.
First of all, check out our guidance on our Post-Treatment Instructions page. We’ll make sure you get accurate directions, and someone from our office will call you to see how you’re doing once you’re back at home. You might experience a bit of tenderness or soreness for a few days, and we recommend you take Ibuprofen or Tylenol (whether you have pain or not) for the first 3 days right after your treatment. It’s rare for patients to experience complications after endodontic treatment, but if any problems do occur, we’re always available to take your call.
Following your root canal therapy, we will send your treatment record to your restorative dentist, who will determine what type of restoration is necessary for your tooth. We recommend that you contact your restorative dentist’s office right away to schedule a follow-up appointment within 2 weeks of your root canal treatment.
Please know that we may want to see you back in our office after one year for a recall visit. (It could be sooner, but we will let you know what we recommend in your specific case when you visit.) It’s important that you do return, because we’ll be able to make sure everything is healing properly and catch any issues that might have cropped up.
We answer these questions thoroughly on this page, so please check it out!
We pride ourselves on taking full advantage of groundbreaking dentistry technologies… all for you! We have invested in our practice’s technology, so we can provide the best, highest-quality care possible.
Because we’re committed to accuracy, we perform all procedures with an operating microscope. It really is amazing the detail we can see inside your mouth with our microscope. It’s like super-vision!
We also love 3D Cone Beam technology. It’s really a game-changer. Sometimes, traditional x-rays can only provide a limited range of diagnoses. Cone Beam imaging gives us a clear, 3D picture of not only your teeth, but of soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone underneath the surface. Plus we can spot infections, canals, and other culprits of your pain that had gone previously undetected.
We also are enthusiastic about being authorized providers of the GentleWave® procedure, which makes root canals non-invasive and relatively painless. You can learn more here.
We call the operating microscope, 3D Cone Beam technology, and the GentleWave procedure the perfect trifecta of modern-day endodontic technology, and we are committed to your healing and health.
Please feel free to reach out to our office! Our friendly front desk staff will be happy to answer your questions.