Wright & Beatty

FAQ

General

Why would I need endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected by bacteria. The most common reasons for teeth to need root canal treatment are deep cavities or cracks in the crown of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can lead to a dental abscess or the loss of the tooth.

 

Signs and symptoms

Indications for treatment include lingering pain to hot or cold, biting pressure, discoloration of the tooth and swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Often a previously comfortable tooth with a big cavity or leaking filling will become painful after a new crown or big filling is placed because the bacteria will get sealed in the pulp chamber. Sometimes there are no symptoms even though an abscess may be evident in the jaw bone.

How can endodontic treatment help me?
Once bacteria from the mouth get into the pulp (inside of the roots), the only treatment options are to take the tooth out or save it by completion of a root canal. Bacteria are extremely small, and the irregular shape of the root canal system makes it very difficult to remove ALL bacteria from the confines of the pulp. We have recently incorporated the Gentlewave Multisonic Procedure into our office and can provide the most thorough and successful cleaning of bacteria possible for the best success rates available. We are the only office in Vancouver, WA with this technology and one of only three offices in the Portland area.
What is Endodontics?

endodonticsEndodontics (from the Greek roots endo- “inside” and odont- “tooth”) is the dental specialty concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. Endodontists perform a variety of procedures including endodontic therapy (commonly known as “root canal therapy”), endodontic retreatment, surgery, treating cracked teeth, and treating dental trauma. Root canal therapy is one of the most common procedures. If the dental pulp (containing nerves, arterioles, venules, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue) becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth. In the United States after graduation from a four-year university and acceptance and completion of a four-year dental school degree, a dentist must then be accepted to a very few residency positions available in endodontic post-graduate training. This rigorous training programs are either 2 or 3 years in length and often require completion of a masters degree in dentistry in addition to certificate training in the field of endodontics.

 

Procedures

When is a root canal procedure necessary?

When deep cavities of cracks form on a tooth, they allow bacteria to enter the chamber of the tooth that is filled with nerves and blood vessels. The nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth are known as the pulp, and once bacteria grows there, it is necessary to remove the infected pulp in order to save the tooth.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Modern anesthetics can make the procedure pain free in almost all cases. Dr. Wright and Dr. Beatty have extensive training in providing deeper and longer lasting local anesthesia than most dentists receive in dental school, so rest assured you will be comfortable. For the first few days after treatment, some patients experience mild sensitivity to biting pressure, especially if there was biting pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (like Advil) are recommended for a day or two. Dr. Wright or Dr. Beatty can prescribe stronger medications, but they are rarely needed.
How long does a root canal procedure take?

As a ballpark estimate, a root canal appointment will usually last somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes.

If you have a preference or a need for short appointments (with the understanding that you will need to schedule more of them) please let our staff know. This preference is common in patients who have TMJ (jaw joint) problems or have trouble sitting still for extended periods of time.

Financial Issues

How much does a root canal procedure cost at your office?

The cost of a root canal varies based on the tooth involved and the whether or not you will be using dental insurance benefits.
Costs are lowest for front teeth (anterior and bicuspid) and increase in cost towards the back teeth (molars). Molars have more canals and therefore take more time and are generally more difficult to treat. This is why they cost more to treat thus increasing the overall cost of the root canal procedure.

Another factor determining your out-of-pocket cost is the availability of dental insurance benefits. Our front desk team is experienced and accomplished at working with dental carriers.  We will work hard to obtain maximum reimbursement through your insurance carrier up to the benefit limits of your individual dental plan to reduce your out-of-pocket costs whenever possible.

Important Note:  It is very difficult to estimate the cost of a root canal without an endodontist viewing the tooth or teeth in question and without the aid of other imaging diagnostic tools like x-rays. At Wright & Beatty, we believe in providing a high standard of care for all patients. That is why we hire the best people, use the most current materials, and stay on the cutting edge of the best technology for our patients.

We will assess your individual situation with care. Through our systematic diagnostic process we will always give you our best advice for saving your natural tooth and an honest appraisal of your treatment options and related costs.