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Dental care encompasses more than just cleanings and checkups. Sometimes your teeth need treatment for problems beyond a simple cavity.

Specialty dentistry like endodontics helps keep your teeth in tip-top shape from the inside out, and, at Monarch Dental, we’re proud to offer an array of specialty and general dentistry services so you can get all the care you need all at one convenient location.

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What is an endodontist?

A dentist who specializes in root canals, repairing dental injuries, and assisting patients in tooth pain management is known as an endodontist. While root canals are their specialty, endodontists can conduct a variety of procedures with the goal to keep natural teeth as healthy as possible, limit infection and deterioration, and reduce dental pain. 

Why would I need endodontic treatment?

Infected and damaged teeth will not heal on their own and, if not treated properly, can lead to more widespread infection and more severe damage in the teeth and jaw. The primary purpose of endodontic treatment is to save the natural tooth or teeth in the event of infection or injury, and there are multiple reasons you may need endodontic treatment, many of which start with tooth pain or injury to the teeth. 

Some common endodontic procedures include: 

  • Treatment of severe tooth pain
  • Root canals, fillings, and crowns
  • Apicoectomy to treat bacterial infections of the tooth or gum
  • Repairing an injured tooth, such as from an athletic injury

If you are currently having severe tooth pain or jaw pain, or you have had a recent injury to your teeth, you should contact your primary dentist, who can assess most of these situations and refer you to an endodontist if needed. 

How will an endodontist determine if I need treatment? 

When a patient comes in with severe tooth pain or a tooth injury, the endodontist will examine not only the exterior of the tooth but the interior as well. The inside of the tooth, also known as the dental pulp, might need to be examined. 

The endodontist will also look for other indications of damage or infection, including:

  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Severe tooth pain
  • A bacterial infection
  • Deep tooth decay
  • Darkened gums
  • Chipped or cracked teeth

Removing infected dental pulp and repairing damage help to save the natural tooth. Extraction is almost always a last resort in most cases, and an endodontist will do everything possible to preserve the affected tooth.

Understanding the root canal procedure and what to expect

A root canal is a common procedure that attempts to save a natural tooth by removing its infected dental pulp and sealing it. Cavities and damage to the exterior of a tooth can result in bacteria entering and infecting the dental pulp, which can cause significant pain and long-term health problems if left untreated. 

Here’s what happens during a root canal procedure:

  1. The endodontist or dentist will take x-rays of your mouth to identify the problem areas and create a treatment plan.
  2. A local anesthesia will be administered to the treatment site to reduce discomfort and pain.
  3. The affected tooth and its surrounding teeth are cleaned, and the adjacent teeth protected by a dental dam.
  4. A small hole will be made to allow the endodontist to access the inside of the tooth and the dental pulp.The infected dental pulp will be removed and the inside of the tooth will be cleaned and dried.
  5. The inside of the tooth is sealed with filling material to prevent future infection. The outside of the tooth is also capped with a temporary filling.
  6. A follow-up visit may be required so a permanent filling or crown can be placed on the treated tooth.

Understanding the apicoectomy procedure and what to expect 

While a root canal removes the infection from the dental pulp on the inside of the tooth, an apicoectomy removes inflamed or infected gum tissue and/or the root of the tooth. This procedure is not as common as root canals and usually occurs at the tip of the tooth’s root which is deeper into the gum tissue. 

Here’s what happens during an apicoectomy:

  1. You’ll have a consultation with the endodontist as well as x-rays taken to prepare for the procedure. 
  2. The treatment area will be surgically cleaned and anesthesia administered to help minimize pain.
  3. An incision will be made on the gum line to expose the infected tooth root. A portion of the tip of the root will be removed, any surrounding infected tissue will also be removed, and the incision that exposed the root canal will be filled to prevent reinfection.  

What is post-endodontic procedure care?

Care processes and pain management after an endodontic procedure will be specific to your situation, so following your dentist and endodontist’s instructions is important. Following their guidance will not only help with the healing process but also assist in preventing additional damage or the development of new infection. 

Most post-endodontic procedure care will include recommendations like these:

  • Altering your food intake, such as eating softer, moderate to cool temperature foods, and trying to limit their contact with the procedure site. 
  • Continuing an oral care routine, with gentle flossing and brushing and flossing. This may include rinsing your mouth with a saline solution to help prevent additional infections. 
  • Follow the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or endodontist, including any prescriptions for antibiotics or pain medication, and reach out to them with any questions.

How expensive is endodontic treatment?

There are multiple factors associated with endodontic procedure costs, such as:

  • The extent of damage or decay
  • The severity of the injury
  • The degree of difficulty of the procedure
  • If you will need additional treatments before or after
  • The type, size, and location of the tooth (or teeth) needing treatment
  • The type of dental insurance, if any

Many dental insurance plans will cover part or all of the cost of endodontic treatment. Monarch Dental accepts most major insurances as well as CareCredit and their in house financing, and offer a variety of payment and financing options for any costs your insurance won’t cover.

Patients without insurance can take advantage of Monarch Dental’s OneSmile Dental Plan, which provides members with discounted dental services and free exams and x-rays for one low annual fee.

Find Affordable Endodontic Care at Monarch Dental

Endodontic care is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to good oral health. With our full range of general, specialty, and cosmetic services, Monarch Dental provides everything you and your family need for complete dental health and at prices you can afford. We’re committed to exceptional patient care and providing everyone with the beautiful smile they deserve! 

Help keep your teeth healthy inside and out with endodontic treatment from Monarch Dental! Find the location nearest you and schedule an appointment today.