What is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist with at least two or more years of advanced training in the study of endodontics. An endodontist earns a certificate in endodontics from an advanced education program accredited by the ADA commission on dental accreditation.
Specialty training allows an endodontist to identify and treat diseases of the dental pulp and supporting structures and to diagnose facial pain and related problems. General dentists refer patients to an endodontist when diagnosis is complicated or when treatment is more difficult than normal. Dr. Doddamane likes to educate patients regarding the treatment required, what the treatment involves, and what they can do to ensure the best possible outcome.
What is an endodontic treatment?
Endodontics can save natural tooth structure. Nothing, not even the most advanced bridges and implants, can replace the quality of a strong, healthy, natural tooth.
In order to understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. A tooth has several layers. The outside layer of a tooth is composed of a hard layer called enamel. Beneath the enamel is an inner layer called dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the pulp.
The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, and it creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels that enter the tooth at the end of the root.
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Left untreated, pain or an abscess may result. Although the pulp is important during the development of the tooth, it is not necessary for the functioning of the tooth. A tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it, even after the pulp is removed.
Why would I need endodontic treatment?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common causes include deep cavities (caries or decay), repeated dental procedures, cracks, or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain and eventually lead to an abscess.
Common indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, tenderness upon biting or chewing, and swelling of adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms.
How can endodontic treatment help me?
The endodontist removes inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system, and then seals the prepared space. Most root canals are now performed in a single appointment ranging from 30 to 90 minutes (depending on the number of canals). Once treatment is completed, you will return to your dentist who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth, and restores function.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Toothache pain is the main reason that patients seek endodontic treatment. Fortunately, modern anesthetics can make a root canal treatment procedure comfortable. Seeking treatment early makes the procedure more comfortable, as well, so don't wait! When caught early, treatment should feel no different than having a regular filling. For the first few days after a root canal treatment, expect some sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was pain or infection prior to before the procedure. Sometimes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (such as Advil) are recommended for a day or two. Dr. Doddamane can prescribe other medications, but they are rarely required.
What is retreatment?
A second chance to save your tooth! In some cases, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal or develops new problems. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or diseased. This can occur months or even years after successful treatment. Retreatment is a procedure to remove root canal filling materials from the tooth, followed by cleaning, shaping, and filling the canals.
What are the alternatives to retreatment?
The only other alternative is extraction of the tooth. A missing tooth must be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore the function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.
No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are - and they can be very effective - nothing is as good as your natural tooth. You've already made an investment in saving your tooth. The payoff for choosing retreatment could be a healthy, functioning, natural tooth that could last for many years to come.
Why would I need endodontic surgery?
A root canal can often save an injured tooth from extraction. Occasionally, a non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. The most common surgery used to save a damaged tooth is an apicoectomy, or root-end resection followed by a root end filling.
What should I do if I have an emergency when the office is closed?
We can always be reached in case of an emergency; if you need us after hours, your call will be forwarded to Dr. Doddamane’s cell phone. She will return your call as soon as possible.
How do I know when it's time to come in for a follow-up visit?
We routinely follow-up on patients after root canal work has been completed. Follow-up visits vary from six months to a year, depending on the case. We call our patients to remind them of follow-up appointments. In the interim, you can always call our office with any questions or concerns.
Does Allen Endodontics accept insurance?
Yes, we file insurance and are in network with a few selected insurance companies.
How much will my procedure cost?
Cost of our services varies depending upon how severe your situation is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat, and treatment usually costs more. Likewise, a retreatment procedure will require extra time to remove the filling material before actually accomplishing the retreatment procedure. In some cases, retreatment may take two or more visits, and this affects cost.
What payment options do you provide?
We accept cash, personal checks, and credit cards (VISA, and MasterCard). We also accept CareCredit and CapitalOne Healthcare Finance, which offer convenient financing programs with up to 12 months', interest-free payment plans for qualified applicants.
What are your office hours?
Our office hours are:
Monday through Friday, 8am - 4pm
Wednesday, the office is open for administrative purposes from 8am - 2pm.
How can I learn more about endodontics?
It is always good to keep up with the latest news updates in any field. You will find the most recent articles on endodontics here... http://www.aae.org/patients/pressroom/NewsArticles.htm