I'm worried about x-rays. Should I be?
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography. It uses a special sensor which significantly reduces radiation levels over film-based dental x-ray systems. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your dentist or other specialists via e-mail. In addition, Dr. Anderson uses an instrument called an "apex locator". This microprocessor-based instrument accurately determines canal length electronically. The apex locator replaces the need for some of the traditional x-ray images taken during the procedure.
My dentist is recommending a 3D or CBCT image, why is that important?
Medicine has relied on 3D imaging (Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scans) for many years, but until recently, dentistry has been limited to 2D imaging. Two-dimensional imaging (intraoral and panoramic radiography) sometimes fails to provide complete and accurate information for complex cases.
The advantage of 3D imaging over regular dental imaging is that bone structure, bone density, internal tooth anatomy and adjacent structures can be viewed clearly in all three planes. This provides highly accurate diagnostic information in a non-invasive manner. Dr. Anderson can visualize internal anatomy, so that proper diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment planning can be done. This diagnostic advancement is why Dr. Anderson was the first endodontist in Indiana to acquire Cone Beam CT technology.
As an endodontic patient what should I expect?
We start with a detailed examination to diagnose your endodontic condition. In consultation with your general dentist, we will determine if your tooth is a good candidate for endodontic therapy and explain your treatment options.
The next step is usually non-surgical endodontic treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. The injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleansed and sealed. This therapy involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required and the severity of the pulp's damage. Success for this type of treatment is greater than 90%. We will inform you as soon as possible if we determine that your tooth is not suitable for treatment or the prognosis changes. Most patients return to their usual routine after treatment.
Generally, non-surgical treatment is all that is needed to save teeth with an injured pulp. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to allow healing and we will recommend microsurgery. Surgery allows removal of infected material and sealing of the root at its end. Damaged root surfaces and surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common microsurgical procedure used to save damaged teeth is an "apicoectomy" or "root-end resection."
What happens when your root canal treatment is completed?
You will be referred back to your general dentist for a final restoration. A record of your treatment will be forwarded to their office. It is unusual for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available to help.
A crown or "cap" is the most often recommended restoration for an endodontically treated tooth. However, your general dentist will decide what type of restoration is needed to protect your tooth.
What about infection control?
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. In addition, we use single-use disposable supplies whenever possible.
What if I am apprehensive?
Although local anesthetic is ideal for most patients, there are additional methods to make your visit even more pleasant. We offer nitrous oxide gas, oral sedation, and I.V. sedation. The oral and I.V sedation will require special arrangements beforehand. Please let us know if you are interested in any of these enhancements. If you only need to be distracted during your treatment, we offer cable TV in each treatment room.
How much will it cost?
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as how severely the tooth is damaged and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. Regardless, we will discuss your particular case and its cost before any treatment is started. We accept cash, check, Carecredit and all major credit cards. We will file to your insurance company if it is available.