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About your tooth
A tooth consists of two main parts: the crown, which is visible in your mouth and is contacted during chewing; and the root, which is typically not visible in your mouth and is anchored to the surrounding bone and gum tissue. Within the core of each root are one or more channels that run the length of the root, this is called the root canal space. In health, these canals contain blood vessels, nerves, soft tissue, and certain cell types. All of these collectively form what is called the pulp tissue. The pulp can be irreversibly injured or infected due to deep restorations, decay, fracture, trauma, or periodontal disease. Symptoms of pulpal involvement may include temperature or pressure sensitivity, spontaneous or radiating pain, and swelling. A root canal procedure removes the diseased pulp tissue within the root and then fills the space with an inert material to seal it off to try and prevent re-infection.
Your first visit to our practice establishes a vital foundation for our relationship with you. Your initial appointment will consist of a consultation explaining your diagnosis and treatment options. Occasionally, treatment can be done the same day as the consultation. However, a complex medical history or treatment plan may require an evaluation and a second appointment to provide treatment on another day.
Please assist us by providing the following information at the time of your consultation:
- Your referral slip and any X-rays if applicable.
- A list of medications you are presently taking.
- If you have medical or dental insurance, bring your insurance card the necessary completed forms (back side of health history form). This will save time and allow us to help you process any claims.
IMPORTANT: The parent or legal guardian must accompany all patients under 18 years of age at the consultation visit.
For any patients interested in sedation dentistry to reduce their anxiety about having an endodontic procedure, we welcome the opportunity to discuss all of the available options we offer at the first visit. Some sedation options will necessitate treatment at a second visit.
Pre Treatment Instructions
Endodontic therapy is a procedure performed using local anesthetic, much like a filling or restoration. There are usually no restrictions after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work.
Please continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.
If you pre medicate for dental procedures, do so as instructed by your physician. Please take proper antibiotics 1 hour prior to your dental appointment regardless if you are currently taking an antibiotic for infection.
If you have been advised by your physician to use an antibiotic pre medication because of mitral valve prolapse (MVP), heart murmur, artificial valve, hip, knee, or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please pre-medicate using the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.
Non-surgical Post-treatment Instructions
After completion of endodontic treatment, the root canal system has been sealed. However, a temporary restoration is in place temporarily sealing the crown portion of the tooth. The temporary filling must be replaced by permanent restoration from your general dentist to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. It is rare for a temporary filling to completely fall out, although it may divot or cave in while in use. If the temporary falls out please contact our office or your general dentist as soon as possible. If your temporary falls out after office hours you may purchase some temporary filling material from most pharmacy’s and follow the included instructions.
Please telephone your restorative dentist for an appointment within two to four weeks from completion of root canal treatment to have the permanent restoration placed. A complete report of treatment will be sent to your doctor. In addition, one of our staff members will follow-up with a personal phone call to you to determine your progress.
Home Care Instructions
Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days following therapy depending on the condition of your tooth. This short term tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm. We recommend to avoid chewing food on the affected side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration provided by your restorative dentist. You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen. Discomfort may be alleviated by taking ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed.
Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with these medications, or should visible swelling develop, please contact our office.
Surgical Post-treatment instructions
Our surgical procedures are performed using local anesthesia and in some cases with the addition of oral or IV sedation. For those patients who receive just local anesthesia, there are usually no restrictions placed after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work. If oral or IV sedation was also employed, the patient will require specific instructions about traveling to and from the appointment.
Swelling: Some swelling is expected. Use of an ice pack with moderate pressure (20 minutes on, 10 minutes off) for the first 5-6 hours will help control the extent.
Discoloration: Some discoloration (bruising) of the soft tissues may occur. Again ice will help control the extent of bruising.
Bleeding: Bleeding should not be a problem, especially if the ice pack is used properly. However, slight traces of blood may be noted in the saliva for a few hours following your procedure, this is expected
Pain: Some pain is normal. Analgesic medications have been discussed and should be followed as indicated on the post-treatment form given after the surgical procedure (the link below can be used to print a new form if needed). It is recommended to take the analgesic medications “by the clock” for the first few days after surgery. In other words, take the medication at regular intervals as prescribed regardless of whether you are in pain or not.
Do not lift your lip or stretch your cheeks to observe the surgical site. If you do, it may tear the stitches loose and cause bleeding and/or delay healing. Stitches will typically dissolve 3-6 days post-surgery.
Rinse your mouth with Peridex as prescribed. Rinsing with Peridex will reduce the chance for postoperative infection and will help the surgical wound heal faster and with less scarring.
Eat a soft diet for the first several days and force fluids. Proper nutrition and hydration is important for healing.
Please call our office with any questions, concerns, or to let us know if you are experiencing any problems. We are always available to address these issues.
Dental Insurance is different from Medical Insurance. Many patients aren’t familiar with the specifics of their dental insurance benefits. Your dental benefits are based on the agreement your employer negotiated with your insurance carrier. Please review the insurance benefit booklet provided by your employer to better understand the benefits they make available as part of your insurance coverage. The patient payment portion covered for procedures varies depending on the level of coverage provided by your employer.
An estimate of the amount covered by your insurance company will be provided at the time of your treatment, based on the information they provide to us. The estimate is never a guarantee of benefits or the amount that will be paid. We will file all insurance claims as a courtesy to our patients. If the amount paid by the insurance company is less than or greater than the estimate, then you will be billed the difference or issued a credit in the event of an overpayment.
For your convenience we accept many forms of payment including: Visa, MasterCard, check, cash and Care Credit. If necessary we can assist you in applying for Care Credit prior to appointment. Please call our office for additional guidance with Care Credit. We strive to deliver the finest care at the most reasonable cost to our patients, therefore the estimated payment is due at the time.
Please remember you are fully responsible for all fees charged by this office. Insurance often covers only a portion of your bill. Use of dental insurance does not transfer the responsibility of your financial obligation to the insurance company.
Please bring any insurance information with you to your appointment so that we can expedite reimbursement.