Q & A
An endodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional two years of intensive study after obtaining a dental degree. An endodontist practices endodontics exclusively. This specialist training allows an endodontist to deal with diseases of the dental pulp and supporting structures. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose. Your general dentist sometimes refers patients for consultation when the diagnosis is complicated or when treatment is more difficult.
Dr. Eslinger’s role is not only to provide treatment, but to educate the patient on why they require treatment, what treatment involves and what they can do to ensure the best possible outcome.
Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures. To better understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the pulp.
The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding dentin and enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.
A root canal is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities, repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess. Some of the signs and symptoms may be sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms.
An endodontist removes the imflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is now performed in a single appointment. Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for permanent reconstruction. The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function.
“Root canal” has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology have made it much less “scary”. Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedure. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but Dr. Eslinger may prescribe other medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard.
The fees for endodontic treatment will be based on the specific tooth involved, the type of treatment necessary, and the extent of treatment. During your visit we will discuss the options available to you, the probable number of visits, their length, and the fees involved. Payment is due at the time of treatment. We will gladly bill your dental insurance company for any charges incurred in our office. We do require those with insurance to provide us with sufficient information to bill your insurance company. Any benefit information we obtain from your insurance company is an estimate and only done as a courtesy. You are ultimately responsible for any balance on your account. We require you to pay your estimated portion the day services are rendered. We will send you a statement or refund once the insurance has paid if there is any difference.
We’re happy to say that we offer our patients CareCredit. This payment option lets you begin your treatment immediately – Then pay for it over time, with six months interest free. You can see what it’s all about by going online at Carecredit.com, or call us for more information. Please note that if you choose to use Care Credit for your payment, your account with them needs to be set up prior to your visit with us.