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Is Root Canal Treatment painful?

Whilst the conditions that lead to one requiring root canal treatment can often be painful, root canal treatment itself can usually be performed with little to no pain or discomfort.  The team at SDS Endo will take great care to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your procedure.  Most patients will require no more than appropriate local anaesthetics prior to treatment in order to eliminate pain through the procedure.  For those patients who are anxious about treatment, your Endodontist may advise medication prior to your appointment or may suggest management under IV (twilight) sedation.  Once your local anaesthtics wears off, your Endodontist may suggest mild analgesics or anti-inflammatory medication to limit post-operative discomfort.

Can all teeth be treated?

Most teeth with an infected or diseased pulp will be able to be treated with Root Canal Treatment; however not all teeth can be treated.  Teeth that are severely broken down, have advanced periodontal (gum) disease or are fractured may not be suitable for Root Canal Treatment.  At the initial consultation, an assessment of the suitability of each tooth for treatment is made.  Alternative treatment options are discussed and considered.  The suitability of the tooth is also reviewed during the course of treatment.

Why do some teeth need additional treatment or retreatment?

Root Canal Treatment enjoys a high success rate and most teeth that undergo treatment are retained for many years after.  However, as with all dental and medical procedures, there are circumstances when healing does not proceed as initially anticipated.  Persistent disease after treatment may be due to a breakdown in the restoration over the tooth or new areas of decay that have developed around the tooth.  Re-infection may result from a delay in the placement of the final restoration after Root Canal Treatment.  Persistent disease may also occur because some canals were difficult to locate or prepare during the initial procedure.  Many of these cases can be treated by removing the original root fillings and disinfecting and sealing the canals again or with the help of Endodontic Microsurgery.

Will I need to return to your office for Additional Visits?

Once endodontic therapy is completed your tooth should be examined periodically, usually every 6 - 12 months.  This allows us to make sure the tooth has healed or is healing properly.  Periodic recall of the tooth will also allow us to address potential problems early to prevent further damage to the tooth or surrounding structures.

Why do I need to return to my referring General Dentist?

Root Canal Treatment is usually one step in the process of saving and restoring a diseased tooth back to function.  After your root canal treatment, your dentist will need to restore the crown of the tooth with a permanent restoration to seal this area and to provide protection to the tooth.  Your dentist may do this with a direct filling such as an amalgam or resin filling or with an indirect restoration such as a crown or an onlay.  Your Endodontist will usually discuss the restorative options with you at the initial appointment, however, the final decision in regards to the final restoration rests with you and your general dentist.  Your Endodontist will communicate with your general dentist throughout the procedure and may offer guidance.  Your general dentist will also continue to manage all your other dental requriements.

Why do I need X-rays?

X-rays, or more correctly, radiographs are an essential part of root canal treatment.  Radiographs allow us to evaluate the internal structure of the tooth and the supporting structures under the gums.  They also allow us to evaluate the progress of root canal treatment throughout the procedure and healing after the procedure.  Your Endodontist will need to take a radiograph prior to Root Canal Treatment even if your general dentist provides one with the referral.  This is because it is important to see the state of the tooth at that time and to ensure consistency in the image.  They will also take radiographs during treatment, at the completion of treatment and at subsequent recall appointments.  On occasion your Endodontist will recommend additonal radiographs such as small field CT scans to asses the region more comprehensively.  Dental radiographs use minimal amounts of radiation which have not been found to have adverse affects.  At SDS Endo we use digital radiography to ensure that radiation levels are kept to a minimum level.