We have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions that patients have about their endodontic health. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Vienna Endodontics, please contact us at 703-938-5920.
Q: What exactly is a “root canal”?
A: A “root canal” is a small channel or channels present inside the root of every tooth; it contains nerves, blood vessels and other types of tissue.
Q: Will I have any pain if I have root canal treatment?
A: With the advent of new procedures to provide profound, local anesthesia, rarely will a patient feel any pain during treatment. When the local anesthesia dissipates 2-3 hours later, there may be some very mild soreness for 2-3 days.
Q: If I do have root canal treatment, will I have any pain after the Novocaine wears off?
A: Today dentists no longer use Novocaine for local anesthesia; we use something much safer and much more effective—lidocaine, articaine or mepivacaine. Following root canal therapy, a patient may have mild, transient soreness for 1-2 days. Commonly, over-the-counter Advil or Tylenol is sufficient to relieve any mild soreness. Rarely is any stronger pain medication necessary. More often than not, NO pain medication will be necessary.
Q: Will my tooth need any additional treatment following my root canal treatment?
A: Most commonly, after a root canal treatment, the general dentist will need to place a permanent filling or crown.
Q: How long will my root canal last?
A: If the tooth is properly restored in a timely way, and with good home care and periodic checkups by your general dentist, there is a >95% chance the tooth will be retained for many years, perhaps a lifetime.
Q: How long will my root canal treatment take?
A: Generally speaking, the treatment will take approximately 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
Q: Will I need strong pain medications (narcotics) following my root canal treatment?
A: Generally speaking, Advil or Tylenol is all that is needed for 1-2 days following root canal treatment. Seldom is any stronger pain medication necessary.
Q: What are the fees for a root canal?
A: Fees for root canal therapy are determined by the complexity of the case. Generally speaking, teeth closer to the front of the mouth (less complicated) have the comparatively lowest fees. Other factors that affect fee determination include: the need for root canal surgery; root canal retreatment; instruments previously lodged inside the root canal; incomplete root development; etc.
Q: If I am not having pain, do I still need a root canal?
A: Pain is only one indication that root canal treatment may be necessary. A healthy patient may harbor an infection needing treatment, but be unaware of that infection existing either outside or inside the tooth. Your general dentist can often identify these teeth and refer you to an endodontist to have these infected teeth treated by root canal therapy before they cause swelling and pain.