What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are highly skilled dental specialists in diagnosing and treating tooth pain and performing root canal treatment. Endodontists receive a minimum of 2 years of additional education and training after completing their 4 years of dental school education.

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is one of the several specialty branches of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving the treatment of the pulp that resides in the root canal space. We only see one-third of the tooth when we look in the mouth (in a mirror) and that portion of the tooth is called the crown and the remaining two-thirds of the tooth that is below the crown is called the root which is surrounded by bone, gums and it is not seen in the mouth in a healthy mouth. A normal pulp usually does not contain any bacteria and it is sterile but pulp gets inflamed or infected when bacteria make their way into the pulp through caries (cavities), cracks, periodontal disease, abrasions and erosions, and root fractures. Once the pulp is inflamed or infected then it causes symptoms like hypersensitivity to cold and hot, lingering pain to cold and hot, pain with biting and chewing, spontaneous throbbing pain, in some cases swelling and redness of the face. In essence, an Endodontic specialist during the root canal treatment removes the inflamed and infected pulp from the root canal space, cleans this space, and fills this space to eliminate and prevent the disease of the pulp and surrounding tissue.

When do I need to see an Endodontist and do I need a referral?

The decision either to treat you in his office or refer you to an Endodontist will be usually made by your general dentist. Your general dentist may provide you with a referral when he refers you to an endodontist for an evaluation and treatment. Your general dentist may refer you to an Endodontist in one of the following situations.

  • Hypersensitivity to eating hot or cold foods
  • Lingering pain that lasts more than 30 seconds after eating hot and cold foods
  • Sharp pain when you are biting down on the food
  • Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gum and face, redness of the face with associated swelling, sensitivity to touch
  • If you develop sensitivity to hot and cold, pain with biting after recent dental treatment like fillings or crowns
  • Trauma to your teeth from motor vehicle accidents falls or workplace accidents
What services does an Endodontist provide?

Endodontists mainly do root canal treatments to alleviate your pain and save your teeth. They also provide services such as endodontic retreatment, treatment of cracked teeth, treatment of traumatic injuries, apexification, regenerative endodontics, and also perform endodontic surgeries.

What kind of technology does River Valley Endodontics use?

At River Valley Endodontics, we pride ourselves on offering state of the art dental equipment and technologies like GentleWave, CBCT scan, dental microscopes, digital X-rays, etc.

Is root canal treatment painful?

Many root canal treatments are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulpal inflammation and infection. With the availability of modern anesthetics and techniques your Endodontist is equipped to manage your pain better than ever before during the root canal treatment procedure and the vast majority of the patients are comfortable during the procedure.

What is GentleWave® procedure?

The GentleWave® procedure is an innovative alternative to standard root canal treatment that uses a powerful combination of optimized procedural fluids and broad-spectrum acoustic energy to clean the deepest, most complex portions of the root canal system including the microscopic spaces that the standard root canal treatments can miss. The GentleWave® procedure is so effective at cleaning the root canal system, there is less chance of failure over time and minimal to no post-operative discomfort.

What are the advantages of the GentleWave® system?

The GentleWave® procedure is a revolutionary innovation in root canal therapy. It’s minimally invasive, preserves more of the natural tooth structure, provides more effective cleaning of the root canal system, and promotes faster healing. Only of the main advantages of the GentleWave® system is patients experience minimal to no postoperative discomfort compared to the traditional root canal treatment techniques.

What is CBCT scan?

The traditional dental X-rays only reveal a two-dimensional view of true three-dimensional structures. It is often difficult to interpret these 2-D images due to the superimposition of other anatomic structures in the region over the area of interest. In contrast, the CBCT scan produces 3-D images of teeth and surrounding tooth structures that are free from superimposition from the surrounding tooth structure. In other words, the CBCT images are the true representation of the three-dimensional structures.

Should I be concerned with the radiation dose that I receive from a CBCT scan?

The CBCT scans typically used in the specialty of endodontics (small- and focused-field-of-view imagers) expose patients to significantly less radiation dose compared to a typical medical CT scan. A typical CBCT scan taken in an endodontist’s office exposes the patient to a very small amount of radiation dose which is 45-180 times less dose of radiation compared to the radiation dose of a standard medical head CT scan. In other words, the CBCT scans used in an endodontist office are very safe and the benefits of using them outweigh the risks of not using them. At River Valley Endodontics we use small- and focused-field-of-view images that expose the patients to very minimal amounts of radiation.

What are digital X-rays?

With traditional dental X-rays, an X-ray source and a film were used to obtain an X-ray but with the digital X-rays, the film is replaced by a digital sensor. The use of digital sensors significantly reduces radiation exposure to the patient by 90% compared to the traditional film-based X-rays. At River Valley Endodontics we only use digital X-rays.

What happens after endodontic treatment?

After completing the endodontic treatment we go over the post-operative instructions with you. For your convenience, we also posted these same instructions under the patient tab of our website. We share the record of your treatment with your general dentist and ask you to follow up with your general dentist within a few weeks of root canal treatment for a permanent filling or crown. Whether your root canal treated tooth needs a filling or a crown, this determination will be made by your general dentist. Your tooth may be sore for the first few days after the root canal treatment especially if your tooth was sensitive or painful prior to treatment. We recommend you do not chew on this tooth for a few days. If you can, we recommend taking over the counter Ibuprofen and or Tylenol for the first 2-3 days after the root canal treatment. As your tooth starts to feel better you can start chewing on this tooth. If you are a patient of record at our office and experiencing severe pain or swelling after the root canal procedure please feel free to call our office at 859-780-2550. Please provide us with a pharmacy number when you call us so we can call in pain medicine and antibiotics if needed.