What is an Endodontist?
Endodontists are dental specialists who have completed two additional years of advanced endodontic training and education beyond dental school. Endodontic training emphasizes root canal treatments and the diagnosis of diseases and conditions that warrant them. An endodontist does not practice general dentistry but instead devotes the majority of his or her time to performing root canals – specifically those pertaining to narrowed canals or anatomically atypical cases. Most endodontists have offices equipped with highly advanced technology, including 3D imaging devices and high-powered microscopes.
Did you know… that endodontists perform an estimated 5.7 million procedures every year? Of those, the American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 4.2 million are root canal treatments. Despite the majority of those being widely successful, there are still several myths surrounding root canal treatment. For example, root canal treatments do not cause pain as rumored; they relieve it. Similarly, extracting a diseased tooth is not a better alternative to root canal treatment, as keeping as much of your natural tooth as possible should be the treatment goal of you and your dentist.
Endodontic First Visit: What To Expect
Your first visit to an endodontist lays the foundation for your future treatment. It will consist of a thorough review of your medical and dental history, as well as an evaluation of your symptoms. During your visit, your endodontist may review existing x-rays or request additional x-rays and 3D imaging to make an accurate diagnosis. Based on your endodontist’s findings, you will receive a treatment plan recommendation and be given the opportunity to ask questions about your diagnosis and treatment.
In order to expedite your initial visit and streamline your office visit, you’ll need to come prepared with the following:
A referral from your general dentist or other specialists
A copy of your dental insurance card
Personal information forms
Treatment release forms
A list of your current medications
X-rays or a signed release of x-rays from your dentist
Before your first visit:
If you visit an endodontist, you’ll be evaluated and diagnosed based on your symptoms and image results. You may also be subject to additional screenings and diagnostic testing beyond what you may have already had at your general dentist’s office. Although some of the equipment in your endodontist’s office may look complicated, it is highly advanced technology that helps ensure your treatment is effective and precise.
After your first visit:
After you visit with your endodontist for the first time, you will be scheduled to return for treatment. Depending on the extent of your treatment, you may be anesthetized and sedated to ensure you are comfortable for the duration of your procedure. Frequently, treatment will be performed the same day as the evaluation. Please let us know if that interests you.
Endodontic treatments have come a long way in recent years due in part to modern advancements in endodontic technology. Visiting an endodontist is much different than it would have been even just a few years ago thanks to advanced digital imaging tools that help automate office procedures. These tools allow for better accuracy, greater comfort and improved outcomes for patients.
Some of the advanced technologies that can be found in our endodontic office include:
3D Cone Beam Imaging – Technology that captures 360-degree images of the teeth, jaw, and connective tissues.
Apex Locators – Electronic devices capable of identifying the apex, or endpoint, of a tooth root. With an accuracy of more than 96 percent, this device makes it possible for an endodontist to administer root filling within 0.5mm of the apex.
Ultrasonics – Advanced devices capable of aiding in retreatments that require the removal of metal instruments, such as posts, in the canal system. Ultrasonics can make it possible to identify calcified canals and assist in preserving the natural tooth.
Surgical Microscopes – Surgical microscopes magnify the treatment site to allow endodontists to see into the tooth root system with greater detail. Surgical microscopes allow for increased precision when treating complicated root systems.
Digital Radiography – Digital x-rays are capable of revealing hidden caries, bone erosion, and even tooth decay hiding beneath restorations.
Can I benefit from advanced endodontic technology?
Yes! The technology available to endodontists is changing the way patients get care. Your treatment experience and outcome could be significantly improved by visiting an endodontist who employs the use of state of the art equipment.
What should I expect from these types of technology?
Depending on your procedure, you can expect a faster treatment and more accurate results.
Will I need to visit my endodontist for a follow-up?
Your endodontist will inform you of any post-operative instructions that you need to follow after treatment. Though you may not need to return to the endodontist following your procedure, it may be necessary for you to return to your restorative dentist if you need a crown or other restoration.
Thank you for choosing Centennial Endodontics for your endodontic procedure. Each of our Endodontists has years of experience in the field of endodontics and they ensure that every procedure is handled with professionalism and care. Once you’re out of the chair following your procedure, it’s important that you continue that care using the following list of guidelines, ensuring a successful recovery from your root canal and continuing good dental health.
Upon completion of your endodontic procedure with Centennial Endodontics, you will be advised to take pain medication prior to the numbness wearing off to aid in maintaining a reasonable level of comfort. It is advisable to avoid eating or drinking on the affected side until the numbing agent has worn off. Taking 600mg of an NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) such as Ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin every 6 hours will help to control the post-operative swelling. 1000Mg of Extra Strength Tylenol (Acetaminophen) may be added if additional control of your discomfort is needed. Do NOT take Vicodin or another Acetaminophen-containing medication in the same dose as Tylenol.
How Long Will I Experience Discomfort?
The amount and duration of discomfort patients experience can vary from case to case. However, it is not uncommon to have some discomfort following the procedure even when none existed prior to treatment. In the event that your discomfort isn’t sufficiently controlled by the medications listed above, or if excessive swelling develops, contact our office immediately.
Are There Any Special Dietary Guidelines That I Need to Follow?
You will want to avoid eating or drinking anything on the affected side of your mouth until the numbness wears off. Following that, avoidance of chewing on the treated tooth until placement of the final, permanent restoration will decrease the chance of the tooth fracturing in the interim period.
Is It Safe For Me To Drink Through A Straw?
The sucking action involved with the use of a straw could disturb the filling material in the tooth that had the root canal, or the blood clot if a surgical procedure was performed. Therefore, you should avoid using a straw for 3-4 days following the procedure.
Can I Drive Myself Home After My Procedure?
Since your procedure will be performed with local anesthesia, one isolated to the procedure site, you will be able to return to your normal activities not long after your treatment. You should be able to drive yourself home with no difficulty.
Will I Need To Take An Antibiotic?
Antibiotics may be prescribed in some cases. If you are prescribed antibiotics it is important that you take the full course on the schedule recommended by the Endodontist to avoid reinfection.
Will I Need To Return To Centennial Endodontics For A Follow-Up Appointment?
Follow-up appointments with your general dentist and endodontist will be necessary for the placement of your permanent restoration, as well as to observe the healing process and ensure that good progress is being made. Be sure to keep these appointments as they are important to your dental health and the success of your procedure.
When Will My Permanent Restorations Be Ready?
Teeth treated with an endodontic procedure have been structurally compromised by existing decay and fillings. You will need to have a permanent filling or crown placed in the tooth within a month of your root canal (if not sooner). These restorations aid in preventing future fracture and decay, and keep foreign bodies such as food out of your canal, preventing contamination. Without a timely restoration, you may experience further damage, including fracturing or loss of the remaining tooth, or the need for another root canal.
What are Digital X-Rays
Digital x-rays are a more streamlined way of taking dental radiographs. Like traditional x-rays, digital versions provide an in-depth view of the structures of the mouth, helping dentists detect complications and develop effective modes of treatment. Digital x-rays are capable of revealing hidden caries, bone erosion, and even tooth decay hiding beneath restorations.
Did you know… that dental x-rays deliver very low levels of radiation and are considered completely safe? In fact, x-rays are even considered safe during pregnancy and while breastfeeding so long as a leaded apron and collar are used to protect your body from exposure. If you are pregnant or think you may be, tell your dentist so proper precautions can be taken.
Requiring less radiation and no film to process, digital x-rays have become the standard for oral imaging. These systems produce instant digital images that can easily be enhanced and enlarged for a more accurate diagnosis. The images are captured, stored, and even transmitted via in-office computers. In fact, dentists can easily print or email copies of x-rays in just seconds.
Dental x-rays make for a better and more efficient patient experience. Office visits are faster, patients are exposed to less radiation, and radiographs can be sent to a specialist for review in a fraction of the time necessary for traditional film x-rays.
Financial & Scheduling Policy
At Centennial Endodontics, our main focus is the success of the treatment and the benefits they can impart to our patients. As such, we do everything possible to maximize the benefits of your insurance and render any remaining balance as affordable as possible.
The fees we charge are derived from the materials we use and the time of our professionals and are based on the customary prices for the area we provide services in. We will do everything within our power to help you understand your benefit eligibility and provide you with a reasonable understanding of the costs associated with your procedure and the coverage your insurance provides. Additionally, we will be as understanding as possible regarding your financial situation as pertains to your ability to manage your oral health.
You will be responsible for payment at the time the treatment is rendered pending other arrangements made with us. Affordable payment plans are available, and our network includes several insurance companies that will cooperate in aiding you in maximizing your benefits. We accept most forms of major credit cards, including financing through Care Credit.
We are, of course, happy to help you submit all necessary claims to obtain the full benefits of your coverage, but unfortunately, it is outside our power to make any guarantees regarding estimated coverage. Your insurance policy is an agreement between your insurance provider and you, and as such we must ask that all patients ultimately be responsible for payment for services rendered.
We would be happy to discuss the charges related to your procedure and how they are relevant to your current situation. Financial difficulties can happen to the best of us, and, as a result, can affect the timely payment of your account. If problems like these do occur, we ask that you promptly contact us so we can cooperate with you in the management of your account. In most cases these situations can be handled with a single phone call, so please contact our staff immediately with any concerns you have.
Rescheduling/Change In Schedule Policy
We are dedicated to exceptional service and care of the highest quality. The time our doctors and team spend preparing for the visits of our patients is extensive, and as such appointments that are not kept can create significant scheduling problems for our team and other patients alike. Should you find it necessary to reschedule your appointment, we ask that you do so with a minimum of 48 hours notice so that accommodations can be made with our other patients. Be aware that in the event that we fail to receive proper notice, a fee of $50 will be leveraged for every hour of the originally scheduled appointment, charged to your credit card on file.
By seeking services at Centennial Endodontics, you are implicitly stating that you have read and agreed to this Financial Policy and the Cancellation Policy contained herein.