We make every effort to ensure that the tooth and surrounding area are adequately numb; however, the amount of inflammation and pain that your tooth presents with can affect the success of anesthesia. An overwhelming majority of our patients report very little to no discomfort during the endodontic procedure, and for most patients the feeling of numbness usually subsides after a few hours.
Depending upon the diagnosis, Dr. Sulte may recommend that you return to the office six months to one year after the procedure was finished for a recall evaluation. Our office will provide you a reminder card at the end of treatment to let you know the month of your follow-up appointment. As that time approaches you will need to call the office and schedule a time for your short recall appointment. In the meantime, it is of the utmost importance that you see your general dentist to have the tooth permanently restored 2-3 weeks after treatment is completed in our office
No. While radiographs (x-ray images) will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your restorative dentist via secure e-mail or portal that is HIPAA compliance.
Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure (retreatment) can save the tooth.
Yes. This is a very frequently asked question. For the procedure, you will be given local anesthetic, similar to what you would experience with any other type of dental procedure, such as a crown or filling. We can provide oral conscious sedation but this will require a consultation prior to treatment. If this is an option you are interested in, please let us know when you make your appointment.
Most patients will experience mild soreness, particularly to biting or chewing, for a few days. Everyone's rate of healing is different; some patients have discomfort for one day, some for a week. Certain teeth have a 3-6% incidence of flare up that is associated with more severe symptoms. If you experience anything beyond mild discomfort that is not controlled with ibuprofen or acetominophen (for those that cannot take NSAIDS), or if you develop any facial swelling, please call the office.
We recommend that you take an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) following your procedure. If you cannot take ibuprofen, then acetaminophen (Tylenol) would be the next best alternative. In certain instances, we will prescribe you an antibiotic, and/or possibly a stronger pain medication for pain. All instructions regarding medication will be thoroughly reviewed with you before you leave, and you will also be given written instructions.
Yes! In fact many of our patients ask for the first appointment in the morning, or even come on their lunch break. The area of your mouth that is worked on will be numb for a few hours following your procedure, but it is unlikely to interfere with your day-to-day activities.
You can and should eat, but slowly and with caution, chewing on the opposite side of the treated tooth. Your mouth will be partially numb, so care should be taken to not bite or burn your cheek, tongue or lip. Most patients are comfortable eating something soft. It is a good idea to have food in your stomach before taking medication, so if you are not planning on eating afterwards, be sure and have breakfast or lunch beforehand.
Yes, if you don’t elect oral conscious sedation. You will not be sedated for your appointment. Local anesthetic will be administered, similar to how you would feel for a typical dental visit such as a crown or filling.
If you elect for oral conscious sedation, you may not drive and will need to have a companion to drive you to and from the appointment and stay with you until the sedative(s) wear off.
We recommend that you call your restorative dentist as soon as possible to make your follow-up appointment. Dentists' schedules tend to book quickly. It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed 2-3 weeks after your root canal treatment to allow healing to take place, but not longer than one month after the procedure. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.
The temporary filling placed in the biting surface of your tooth is designed to last ideally two to four weeks, not longer than six to eight weeks. It is crucial to see your general dentist for a permanent restoration. Waiting longer than eight weeks can cause your temporary filling to leak, thus contaminating your newly completed root canal therapy.
New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked, or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.
Most teeth can be treated. Occasionally, a tooth cannot be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored. Advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When non-surgical endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth (see Apicoectonomy Surgical Retreatment).
Your dentist or endodontist is suggesting endodontic surgery because he or she believes it is the best option for saving your own natural tooth. Of course, there are no guarantees with any procedure and Dr. Sulte will discuss your chances for success so that you can make an informed decision.
Often, the only alternative to endodontic surgery is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic surgery is usually the most biologic and cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.
No matter how effective modern artificial tooth replacements are—and they can be very effective—nothing is as good as a natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth. The pay-off for choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for the rest of your life.