Frequently Asked Questions
Endodontics /en·do·don·tics/ (-don´tiks): the branch of dentistry concerned with the etiology, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the tooth pulp, root, and periapical tissues.
1. Why do I need endodontic treatment?
Sometimes the pulp inside your tooth (AKA the “nerve”) becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or a blow or traumatic injury to the tooth. The inflamed or infected pulp tissue needs to be removed in these circumstances.
In many instances you may experience no symptoms. However, typical signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and/or tenderness in the nearby gums.
Dr. Dayani removes the inflamed or infected pulp tissue, and he carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth. Internal part of the tooth is then filled and sealed. Afterwards, you return to your general dentist for a permanent restoration. In most cases your general dentist will install posts into the tooth for support and fill the internal chamber of the tooth with “core” material. This is followed by placing a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.
Saving your natural teeth, whenever possible, is the very best option. An endodontically treated tooth, along with appropriate restoration, has many advantages for the patient. It is the best functional unit for chewing and speech. Endodontics is also a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and replacement with a bridge or an implant.
No. Dentists refer patients to an endodontist to help determine the cause of tooth pain or to determine the status of a particular tooth. Dr. Dayani will first make a careful diagnosis. In some cases, the patient and the referring dentist are informed that root canal therapy is not needed.
It is not necessary or desirable to perform root canal treatment on each and every tooth that needs a crown or a filling. However, in a small percentage of cases, root canal treatment is needed after a crown or a deep filling is placed in order to save the tooth, when the pulp tissue becomes inflamed.
Root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it. Most patients see their dentist immediately when they have a severe toothache. Such toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel. In other cases, root canal therapy is indicated when the patient has no symptoms in order to prevent problems in the future and save the tooth.
Dr. Dayani practices and teaches an advanced technique in endodontics known for minimal postoperative discomfort levels. Based on Dr. Dayani's clinical (double-blind and placebo-controlled) studies, most people are comfortable following treatment. Patients who experience residual soreness after the procedure report that it is usually relieved by over-the-counter medications such as Ibuprofen. The majority of his patients are so comfortable that they find it unnecessary to take any pain medication.
The length of treatment depends on the tooth involved and the complexity of the case. In many cases treatment can be completed in 60 to 90 minutes or less.
Some patients who have treatment in the morning go to work in the afternoon. Others can resume their usual activities the day after the treatment.
Your dentist usually takes x-rays to detect cavities; Dr. Dayani takes special x-rays to view the roots of the teeth. These images assist Dr. Dayani in making an accurate diagnosis.
The fee depends on the tooth involved and the number of visits required. At the time of your examination appointment with Dr. Dayani, there will be a full discussion of fees so that you will know what to expect prior to treatment.
Dr. Dayani’s office works with a number of dental benefit plans. Patient financing plans are also available.
Endodontic treatment has a very high success rate. Many root canal treated teeth last a lifetime. Millions of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment.
Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, improve patients’ speech, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment, endodontists enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.
No. You can see an endodontist, the same way you see your dentist. No referral is required to see
Dr. Dayani. Generally your dentist determines the need for a root canal treatment, root canal re-treatment, and/or root canal surgery. Dr. Dayani first confirms the diagnosis and the proposed treatment options, and if needed, initiates treatment.
If a patient feels that there may be a need for any of the above services due to pain swelling or discomfort, he or she may go directly to Dr. Dayani for an evaluation, and if needed, the appropriate treatment. Subsequent to the endodontic care, the patient must return to his or her own dentist for completion of the restorative treatment.
Our office treats emergency patients on the same day. We are available 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week to treat your dental emergencies. Routine office hours are M – F, 8:30 AM to 6 PM.
Although some general dentists perform root canal procedures, many refer their patients to endodontists. Endodontists are specialists who have two to three years’ additional training in root canal treatments after dental school and limit their practices to endodontic procedures. They can often save the most severely injured teeth.
- Dr. Dayani does most his treatments in one visit when indicated. Most his patients who have had other root canals done by their general dentist say that "it has been [their] most pleasant dental experience ever."
- The fact is, that although Dr. Dayani's practice is limited to endodontics, patients do return time and again for their root canal part of their dental treatment to Dr. Dayani and then return to their regular dentist (general dentist) for the remainder of their dental work, since the root canal treatment is done so quickly and comfortably.
Nothing is as good as your natural tooth!
Saving your natural tooth should always be your first choice when dental care is needed. Nothing, not even the most advanced bridges and implants, can truly replace your natural tooth.
- If your dentist recommends extracting your tooth, ask if it can be saved with an endodontic procedure, also known as root canal treatment. Get a second opinion from an endodontist. Endodontic treatment removes the injured pulp (soft inner tissue) of your tooth and fills and seals the space. Your tooth is then restored and can function just like any other tooth for the rest of your life, ensuring comfortable chewing and a natural appearance.
- Although some general dentists perform root canal procedures, many refer their patients to endodontists. Endodontists are specialists who have two to three years additional training after dental school in root canal treatment and limit their practices to endodontic procedures. They can often save the most severely injured teeth. This additional training is what makes most Dr. Dayani's patient describe their experience as "the most pleasant dental experience ever."
- If your tooth cannot be saved — and some cannot — you may consider replacements such as a bridge or dental implant. Your options may depend upon the condition of surrounding teeth and bone structure.
- Dental implant procedures can be complex, costly and they often require several visits and several month’s healing time before the procedure can be completed.
Do everything possible to save your teeth before considering extraction. Nothing is as good as your natural tooth!
We look forward to seeing you in our office. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call the office at (888) NYC- ENDO or (212) 752-3636
Dispelling Myths About Root Canals
By Nima Dayani, DDS, MS,
" In addition to the bad reputation root canals suffer regarding pain, there are other myths associated with them that, if corrected, might ease the fear that the procedure needlessly inspires in patients. "
“I'd rather have a root canal than (something I really don't want to do)!” It's a common cliché. It's also a statement that doesn't accurately reflect modern root canal treatment.
Root canals' stress-inducing reputation took hold several decades ago, when root canal treatment really was painful. Today, its reputation remains unchanged, even though the procedure itself has changed. A survey conducted by the American Association of Endodontists showed that patients who've had a root canal performed by an endodontist are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than those people who have not had root canal treatment. (Click on the link to read excerpts from some of our patients and how they described their root canal treatment experiences)
More than half the patients referred to our office come to us as an emergency and in pain, and a big part of what we do is get people out of pain. Endodontists are extensively trained to diagnose and treat oral pain, and we have expertise in performing dental procedures in a way that eases patients' fears and helps them avoid pain before, during and after a procedure.
A root canal saves a tooth by removing the pulp—the soft inner tissue containing nerves and blood vessels—that's been damaged, usually by deep decay. The endodontist cleans, fills and seals the canals, and the tooth is then restored with a permanent filling or other restoration. Nearly 16 million teeth are saved with root canal procedures each year.
In addition to the bad reputation root canals suffer regarding pain, there are other myths associated with them that, if corrected, might ease the fear that the procedure needlessly inspires in patients.
For instance, it's thought erroneously by many that root canals can cause illness. This claim is based on research performed in the early 1900s, which suggested that bacteria trapped in the teeth during root canal treatment can cause almost any type of disease, including arthritis, heart disease and kidney disease. While bacteria can indeed be found in the teeth and mouth, their presence does not constitute “infection” and is not necessarily a threat to a person's health. In fact, other researchers have been unable to duplicate this research over the years, and believe that these early finding may have been caused by poor sanitation and imprecise research techniques that were common in that period. Recent studies indicate that teeth receiving proper endodontic treatment do not cause illness.
A third myth is that a good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth). The reality is that saving your natural teeth, when possible, is your best option. In a recent AAE survey, 76 percent of participants said that they would prefer a root canal to tooth extraction. Artificial teeth can limit your ability to chew certain foods necessary to maintaining a balanced diet. Not only will a root canal save your ability to enjoy all the foods you love, but it will save you money. Endodontic treatment, followed by the appropriate restoration (a crown placed over the tooth to make it stronger), is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or implant, the only alternatives to root canals.
Even better, root canals have a very high success rate, with many teeth lasting a lifetime. Placement of a bridge or an implant generally requires significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissue.
The truth is that for people suffering from certain kinds of tooth pain, a root canal is usually a blessing, not a curse.
Nima Dayani, DDS, MS, is an endodontist and a member of the American Association of Endodontists. Dr. Dayani practices in midtown/upper east side New York City.
This web page is for your general information and is NOT meant as a substitute for dental or medical advice.
Please consult Dr. Dayani or your dentist for dental advice.
We wish to thank the American Association of Endodontists for some of the information provided above, as some of their published literature has been used as a reference.
Questions and Answers About Endodontic (Root Canal) Treatment ©2010 Advanced Endodontics of NYC, P.C. Unauthorized reproduction of all or part of this segment without prior written permission is prohibited by law.
*Dorland's Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. © 2007 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.