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Common Questions

Why do I need an evaluation? I was already told I need a root canal!

A complete radiographic and clinical evaluation by your endodontist is essential to your well-being. Remember, a responsible endodontist needs to acquaint him/her self with your medical and health histories, and unique dental situation. It is quite possible that there are other options besides root canal therapy that are better suited for you! Maybe the pain you're experiencing turns out not to be a root canal problem after all! The doctor must examine you, make his or her own diagnosis, present a treatment recommendation to you, and answer all your questions before any treatment can be rendered. You deserve this, and you and the doctor should be in agreement on the best course of action for you.

What to bring to your appointment.

1. A referral slip and or/ x-rays that may have been provided to you by your dentist.

2. A list of medications that you are currently taking.

3. Your dental insurance card or forms that will provide us with your id number or SS number, the name of your dental insurance company, and the group number.  This will allow our office to verify your dental benefits and submit claims.

What happens during endodontic treatment?

As with other dental procedures you've experienced at your dentist's office, the tooth needing root canal therapy will be completely numbed using one or several local anesthetics.  Because our treatment appointments can last as long as 2 hours, extra anesthetic is always given to ensure you remain as comfortable as you can be during the entire procedure.  Patients are always encouraged to inform the doctor if they are feeling any discomfort whatsoever--the doctors will immediately stop any work and deliver more anesthetic as necessary. 

A small bite block will be placed in the opposite side of the mouth to help you keep your mouth open.  This will keep your jaw relaxed and supported during the procedure and will give the doctor some working room.  Next, a rubber dam shield will be placed around the tooth, so that water, irrigating solutions, and any debris will be prevented from going down your throat!  Of course, you can still swallow your saliva as you need. 

The doctor then will make an access opening into the tooth and spend the majority of the time cleaning out the infected or inflamed tissue using an array of specialized instruments.  Several radiographs must be taken at various times during the procedure.  Once the doctor has finished cleaning out the nerve completely, he or she will then fill the resultant canal spaces with a well-sealing material (e.g., gutta percha).  In most instances, a hard filling or "buildup" (e.g., composite resin) should be put into the top part of the tooth to replace the dentin that was destroyed by decay, breakage, or a deteriorating old restoration.  A post may be cemented into a root at the time the buildup is done, if additional retention is needed.  We will place this buildup for you, unless specified otherwise by your dentist, in which case we will insert a temporary filling into the tooth. 

A full-coverage crown may be advisable to protect the tooth, following the completion of root canal therapy and placement of the buildup.  Your general dentist will make this crown for you, and a good time for that procedure is usually one or two weeks after the root canal is completed, unless suggested otherwise.  You will be provided with post-operative instructions at the end of your visit including any necessary follow up appointments and prescriptions for medications if needed.

What type of pain can I expect afterwards?

Generally speaking, tenderness to pressure and spontaneous aching can be expected during the first 36 to 48 hours after treatment.  While each patient's  post-operative pain experience can vary, the amount of discomfort a person experiences after a root canal is often related to the level of pain he/she had before treatment was initiated.  In other words, if you had very little or no pain before treatment, then chances are you'll have minimal discomfort afterwards.  However, if you came in with a high level of pain (especially to pressure) before treatment was initiated, then unfortunately, you'll probably have at least a moderate level of discomfort immediately afterwards for a day or so.  The use of pain medications (especially anti-inflammatory analgesics) and avoidance of chewing in the affected area can speed up recovery significantly.  Antibiotics are prescribed on a case by case basis.  Complete, written post-operative instructions will be provided and you are always encouraged to call our office if you have any questions or concerns.

Will I need to return to your office for additional visits?

Root canal treatment may require multiple visits.  While it is very common to complete a root canal in a single visit, occasionally two or even three appointments may be necessary, depending on the degree of difficulty or amount of internal drainage, for example.

Once endodontic therapy is completed, your doctor may wish to examine the area periodically for various reasons, and this is determined on an individual basis.  You will be sent a notice in the mail when we feel it is appropriate to reevaluate the area.

3290 Sepulveda Blvd. • Torrance, CA 90505

Phone: |(310) 325-3100 • Fax: |(310) 325-3112

Ellis Endodontics is located in Torrance, California serving nearby South Bay cities such as Root Canal - San Pedro CA, Root Canal - Palos Verdes CA, Root Canal - Lomita CA, Root Canal - Redondo Beach CA, Root Canal - Hermosa Beach CA, Root Canal - Torrance CA, and Root Canal - Gardena CA. Our endodontists specialize in root canal treatment, root canal retreatment, and root canal surgery. We service the following zip codes: 90501, 90503, 90504, 90505, 90254, 90266, 90274, 90275, 90277, and 90278. Let us be your South Bay endodontic office!