Root Canal FAQ

What is endodontics (root canal therapy)?  Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association dealing with treatment of the tooth, pulp and surrounding tissues. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is the root. The outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin. The inside channel, or root canal, contains the pulp, a soft tissue consisting of blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria introduced into the pulp because of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or a fracture can cause inflammation, pain and severe damage to the pulp, requiring root canal treatment.

Who performs endodontic treatment?  Root canal treatment can be performed by a general dentist or by an endodontic specialist. Drs. Levin, Mischenko and Jong are a leaders in endodontic care – the dental specialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of oral and facial pain. After completing four years of dental education, each of our root canal specialists has completed additional training in endodontics through a specialized, accredited residency. We limit our practice to endodontics and perform. We perform routine as well as highly complex procedures with an emphasis on retreatments and treatment of the medically complex patient.

What happens after treatment?  When your root canal therapy has been completed, we will send a record of the treatment to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion of treatment at our office. Meanwhile, to prevent fracture, avoid eating on the treated tooth until it is restored. Your restorative dentist will consult with you about what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.

Will I need a check-up appointment?  Yes. You will be invited to return to our office for periodic examinations to ensure complete healing of your tooth.

What about infection control?  Our office adheres to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the US Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We are members of the Organization for Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP), an organization dedicated to advancing infection control. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.

I am allergic to latex. How do you handle this situation?  Let us know about all of your allergies, including latex allergies on the Health History Form we will provide. Our office is latex-safe; none of our endodontic materials and equipment contain natural latex rubber materials. We are members of the American Latex Allergy Association.

What about second opinions?  When patients receive a diagnosis from their doctor, it’s not uncommon to get a second opinion. Here are some frequently asked questions about second opinions.

Why should I consider getting a second opinion? An accurate diagnosis is essential to ensure the most effective treatment. Your current doctor will sometimes recommend a second opinion, if only to confirm his/her recommended course of action. Sometimes, advanced technologies such as cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is indicated, and you may be referred to our office for this kind of advanced imaging.

What is involved in getting a second opinion? A short visit will be scheduled to evaluate your condition. This may include digital radiographs, cone-beam computed tomographic (CBBCT) imaging and tests that will help us determine your course of treatment, if any. Of course, bring a list of your current medications and consider completing our online Medical History Form before arriving at our office.

Will it bother my doctor if I get a second opinion? Getting a second opinion of a diagnosis is common practice. Many people do this as a matter of routine, and your doctor should understand this.

We look forward to meeting you.  If we can be of service or to schedule an appointment, please call 301.654.6077, or send us an email.

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