Endodontic Frequiently asked Questions

How long does a new patient appointment visit take?

Depending on the recommended treatment by the doctor, we offer same day treatment and can take between 1-2 hours.

Will I be able to drive after the procedure?

Yes, performing a root canal will not impart you with the ability to operate a motorized vehicle or drive. The drugs we use will not impair your cognitive ability.

If you have been prescribed on anxiolytic drug (anti-anxiety medications) then you will need a responsible escort to transport you to our office, remain in our office for the duration of your procedure, return you to your residence and then be responsible for you for the remainder of the day.

All consent forms for conscious sedation patients should be signed prior to the date of their appointment.

Can I eat before and after and what can I eat?

Yes, you may consume your normal diet prior to endodontic treatment without restrictions.

Exceptions include patients that will have treatment under conscious sedation or under IV or general anesthesia. In these cases, you should abide by the orders of the doctor or dental anesthesiologist.

Children patients scheduled for nitrous oxide should have a light meal before their appointment (i.e. a piece or two of toast and water).

Will I still be in pain after the procedure?

The root canal itself does not cause much pain or discomfort outside of some soreness from the injection. If you were experiencing pain or discomfort to cold prior to the procedure that should be eliminated immediately. If you were experiencing pain or discomfort from biting, chewing, tapping, or pushing in your tooth that may persist for several days to several weeks following the procedure because the tissues around the tooth are inflamed and bruised and it will take time for the inflammation to subside.

Why do I need to take new radiographs?

We need to have recent radiographs for our records that are taken on the date of the examination for diagnostic documentary purposes.

Why would I need a CBCT?

The CBCT is a specialized radiograph that allows the doctor to visualize the tooth in three dimensions. It will allow the doctor to see exactly how many RCS are in the tooth, see the bone and supporting structures around the tooth, understand the complexity of the tooth’s anatomy, and facilitate the doctor’s ability to perform the best treatment on the tooth. 

Why do I need a retreatment?

Most of the time the tooth has experienced microleakage over time that has allowed microorganisms and bacteria to enter the tooth.

What happens when the inside of a tooth is contaminated with bacteria?

Once the bacteria is inside the tooth they begin to replicate and migrate then leak into the tissues around the ends of the roots. When this happens the body’s immune system reacts and sets up an inflammatory reaction to try to help protect healthy tissues from bacteria and their toxins. Typically, one of the first things that happens is that some healthy bone is resorbed to set up a fibrous barricade to try to protect the body. Left unchecked this may lead to further bone loss, abscess and infection in the jaw bone, and may cause the patient to lose the tooth.

Do I really need procedure now or can I wait?

If our doctors have recommended endodontic treatment it is in the patient’s best interest and the best for the tooth to be treated as soon as possible. Waiting to have treatment performed may cause the tooth to further break down, have additional bone loss, start to get loose, and may make it where the tooth can no longer be saved.

When should I go back to my general dentist to get my crown?

We recommend you have the new crown started within 1-2 weeks. There may be special circumstances (i.e., highly compromised teeth they we want to monitor over a few months) that will require that the patient wait longer. Other circumstances (i.e., tooth in the esthetic area or a tooth that needs to be protected immediately) may require immediate temporization within 24 hours or ASAP.

How long can I keep my temporary for?

A temporary restoration lasts one to two weeks and we recommend having it replaced with a permanent restoration ASAP.

Why do I need to come back for a recall exam?

The endodontist who performed your treatment will indicate when the recall appointment should be set and will inform you and the assistant at the end of the appointment if this appointment is necessary. This is typically 6 or 12 months but can be customized based on the endodontic doctor’s preference and the particular case involved.

Why am I still in pain following the procedure?

Following root canal treatment there can be several reasons why a patient has persistent discomfort. Depending on their pre-operative symptoms they may continue to experience the same symptoms and they may even be exacerbated by the procedure that was performed. Avoid that tooth and sometimes it can take several days to several weeks for their symptoms to slowly diminish to no pain at all.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to get my tooth pulled?

Having a tooth extracted will most often result in several adverse sequelae (events) that may affect the surrounding teeth and affect your overall oral health and ability to chew food. Having a tooth removed and replacing it is almost always significantly more expensive than having a root canal on a tooth. Most implants with a crown cost more than $3,000 and often times up to $5,000.

What can happen if I have my tooth extracted?

1. The teeth around it may begin to shift
2. The teeth above or below it may begin to supraerupt and start to come out of
the jaw structure
3. The teeth around it may have less bony support
4. The teeth around it may be more susceptible to gingivitis (inflammatory
disease in the gingiva) or periodontitis (inflammatory disease of the
periodontal ligament and bony attachment)

The Five Cardinal Signs of Inflammation:

1. Redness (rubor)
2. Pain (dolor)
3. Swelling (tumor)
4. Warmth (calor)
5. Loss of function (functio laesa)

Why do I need to take ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that helps prevent the body from producing and releasing chemical mediators that cause us to feel pain. Assuming no allergies or medical history contraindications a very effective pain reduction protocol for oral pain is alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen every three hours as per our post-op instructions.