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Largo Endodontics

How is a Pulpotomy Different from a Root Canal?

You may have come across the term “pulpotomy” when searching online for the cause of your symptoms. Or perhaps your dentist mentioned the possibility of needing this procedure, so you’re looking for more information. So we’ll dive into the procedure here, and how it’s different from a root canal. 

What Is a Pulpotomy?

Most people think of teeth as solid, almost bony objects that are hard through and through, but this isn’t accurate. While the exterior of the tooth is hard, there’s quite a bit happening inside that hard shell. Inside each healthy tooth reside blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. All this softer material together is the pulp of the tooth.

Minor tooth decay, what we typically call cavities, can be easily treated before there’s any risk of damage to a tooth’s pulp. That’s what we’re doing when you get a standard filling. We’re getting rid of minor decay before it turns into something worse.

If left untreated, tooth decay will nearly always progress. Over time, a tooth can decay to the point where the pulp is exposed, no longer protected by the tooth itself. Bacteria then has access to the pulp, leading to infection.

A pulpotomy is the least invasive method for dealing with infected tooth pulp. In this procedure, only the pulp in the crown of the tooth is removed. The roots of the tooth are left intact. After removing a part of the crown of the tooth and the decayed or dead pulp inside, a dentist will install a medicated filling over the remaining roots of the tooth. In most cases, the dentist will then install a crown to further protect the tooth.

Most pulpotomies are performed on children when baby teeth show advanced decay. The procedure is sometimes recommended for adults, with research showing adult pulpotomies are successful in some scenarios. Still, the procedure can be harder to do and is sometimes less effective on adult (permanent) teeth.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is another procedure that addresses damaged or dead tooth pulp. It’s considerably more invasive than a pulpotomy and involves removing all tooth pulp from the affected tooth, including the roots. While considerably more invasive, root canals tend to last quite well and are regarded as a long-term solution.

For quite a few years, the root canal has been the go-to solution for just about any scenario where tooth pulp is infected. This is changing, though. Thanks to improvements in dental technology, it’s easier today to identify how much of a tooth’s pulp is infected. If the infection is limited, a pulpotomy may do the job with far less invasiveness. Doing so saves more of the natural tooth and roots as well.

 

What about Pulpectomies? Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy Explained

One question you may have is about pulpotomy vs. pulpectomy. These terms sound similar, and they do refer to similar procedures. However, there’s not usually much debate between the two.

We covered pulpotomies above, but as a reminder, this procedure involves removing just the pulp in the crown (top) of the tooth, then placing a medicated filling above the remaining roots.

The term pulpectomy refers to removing all the pulp (including the roots) from a tooth. It’s never a standalone procedure. Something else — some kind of follow-up step procedure — has to be done after removing the pulp. In most cases, that follow-up procedure is a root canal.

So a pulpotomy is a standalone procedure that saves some pulp and the roots of a tooth. A pulpectomy, on the other hand, removes all the pulp from the affected tooth but is not a standalone procedure.

 

Which Procedure Is Best for Me?

If you’re dealing with tooth pain, what’s the best solution? Perhaps all you need is a filling. If you already know that you’re dealing with infected pulp, is a pulpotomy the right choice, or do you need a root canal?

The only way to know for certain is to discuss your options with a dentist or endodontic specialist. To accurately identify the right solution, a practitioner will need to carefully evaluate the state of your tooth, among other factors. Usually, within one visit, you’ll gain a clear understanding of the options available for your unique situation.

Largo Endodontics is here for all your dental and endodontic needs. Reach out today to schedule an appointment. We’ll help you determine the next steps in your oral health journey.

So You Need an Apicoectomy?

When you have an infection or pain in a tooth that has already had a root canal, your dentist might recommend a different procedure known as an apicoectomy. This procedure involves removing the tip of the affected tooth root to ease discomfort and prevent an infection from spreading. Knowing more about having an apicoectomy can help you feel more comfortable about this procedure.

 

Reasons for an Apicoectomy

Why might your dentist recommend having this procedure done? If you’re having pain due to an infection or inflammation, even after a root canal, an apicoectomy can provide relief. Having this procedure done is also an important part of stopping an infection from becoming widespread, which can be dangerous. Since your affected tooth has already had a root canal, the only other option, in this case, is removing it entirely. An apicoectomy provides a less invasive way to treat an infection or inflammation under the gum while also allowing you to keep your natural tooth.

 

What to Expect During and After an Apicoectomy

When you have this procedure done, your endodontist will use a surgical microscope and surgical instruments to remove the tip or end of your tooth root. This approach offers a highly precise and delicate way to treat infections or inflammation under the gum. Before this procedure, you’ll be given local anesthesia to numb the area and reduce the risk of discomfort. Your endodontist will then make a small incision to get to the root tip and gently remove it. You might also have your root canal cleaned to reduce the risk of getting another infection. Your tooth will then be sealed to keep bacteria out, and you’ll have sutures placed at the surgical site.

Apicoectomy animation

You might have some minor pain and swelling after you have this procedure, but this should only last for a few days. Your endodontist might recommend taking over-the-counter pain medication to help relieve discomfort. You should also follow your endodontist’s instructions for caring for your tooth to ensure that it properly heals.

 

Benefits of an Apicoectomy

Having an apicoectomy provides some benefits compared to having the affected tooth removed. When you save your natural tooth, you’re helping to protect the teeth on either side of it. Removing a tooth can cause problems for the surrounding teeth, such as shifting, which can affect your bite. Keeping your tooth helps prevent these issues from occurring.

Saving your natural tooth with this procedure also means you’ll be having a less invasive procedure done. With tooth removal, you might need to undergo dental implant surgery afterward in order to replace it with an artificial tooth. This type of surgery involves cutting into your gums to place a post inside the gum tissue. You then have to wait for it to heal before having your artificial tooth put in place. When you have an apicoectomy, you don’t have to worry about undergoing more invasive surgery.

Preserving the affected tooth with an apicoectomy also helps you save money on dental costs. Dental implants to replace natural teeth are much more expensive than the cost of having the tip of your tooth root removed.

Apicoectomies also have high success rates, making them a good option for saving natural teeth that are infected. When you have your apicoectomy done by an experienced endodontist, you can depend on having a successful procedure with a low risk of complications.

 

Good Candidates for Apicoectomies

If you have had a root canal in the past and are experiencing signs of an infection or inflammation in the same tooth, you might be a good candidate for an apicoectomy. Keep in mind that tooth root infections can end up spreading quickly, so you’ll need to have this procedure done sooner rather than later. Your endodontist can go over detailed information about this type of procedure and determine if it’s the right option for you. Since the only other option in these cases is usually tooth removal, apicoectomies are typically recommended as a treatment. This procedure is generally safe for patients since the risks of complications are low compared to more invasive endodontic surgery.

If you need more information on having an apicoectomy, please contact Largo Endodontics today to schedule an appointment with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman. We provide root canals, apicoectomies, and other types of endodontic procedures for patients in and around the Largo area.

Endodontist vs. Dentist: Which to Choose?

When you have tooth pain, dentists and endodontists can provide treatment that relieves this discomfort and prevents additional problems from occurring. However, there are certain differences between the treatments that dentists and endodontists offer. It’s important to understand how these treatments differ to ensure that you receive proper care to ease tooth pain.

Dentist Treatments

Dentists provide a wide range of care to help people maintain healthy teeth and gums, such as cleanings and exams. They also do root canal procedures and other treatments that are needed when patients have tooth decay or other tooth problems. For example, dentists can do tooth extractions for advanced decay or provide fillings for more minor cases of decay. Some dentists also provide cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or veneers.

When dentists determine that a patient needs a root canal, they might perform the procedure at the office. However, some dentists refer patients to an endodontist instead. While dentists can perform root canals, they are not considered specialists for this type of treatment. Dentists know the basics of doing these procedures since they receive some endodontic training, but endodontists have more advanced training.

 

Endodontic Treatments

Endodontists specialize in diagnosing the causes of tooth pain and providing root canals or other endodontic procedures as treatment. These involve treating the interior part of an affected tooth in order to prevent infections from occurring and ease symptoms. These treatments also aim to preserve the natural tooth, so that patients don’t need to have it extracted and replaced.

Root canals are among the more common procedures that endodontists perform. This procedure involves removing decayed or diseased pulp from the interior of the affected tooth, then filling it in and placing a cap or crown on it. Endodontists do this as a way to relieve discomfort caused by tooth decay and stop it from getting worse. This type of procedure also allows patients to avoid having their tooth pulled and needing to get it replaced with an artificial tooth.

 

Benefits of Seeing an Endodontist for a Root Canal

Although both dentists and endodontists can perform root canals, there are important advantages to seeing an endodontist for this type of treatment. These benefits include the following:

  • Specialized care
    Endodontists do not provide cleanings, fillings, and other types of dental care as dentists do. Instead, they focus on providing treatments that deal with the interior of a decayed or diseased tooth. Having this type of specialized care means endodontists perform root canals more frequently than dentists. This provides them with more root canal experience over time compared to dentists. In general, dentists might only perform a couple of root canals per week, while endodontists typically perform around 25 root canals each week.

 

  • Latest endodontic equipment
    Since endodontists specialize in performing root canals and similar types of treatment, they typically have more advanced equipment, technology, and tools available. This equipment might include microscopes or ultrasound instrumentation that offers a better view inside teeth, as well as more accuracy. Endodontists might also have 3D or digital imaging technology for more detailed information about the affected area. Using this equipment helps ensure that endodontists are able to do root canals properly, safely, and successfully.

 

  • Advanced endodontic education
    While dentists receive some training in endodontics at dental school, endodontists receive an advanced education. After receiving an education at dental school, endodontists need to have up to 3 years of education in endodontics. This education provides them with a more in-depth understanding and knowledge of diseases and conditions that affect the interior of teeth, as well as the types of procedures used as treatment. With this education, endodontists can perform more complex root canals as needed. Dentists usually don’t have this kind of knowledge or experience.

 

  • Prompt care
    Patients who go to a dentist for a root canal might have to wait to have it done depending on availability, since dentists see many other patients and provide several services. Those who see an endodontist for a root canal can usually have emergency care done if needed instead of having to wait.

 

If you need endodontic care, please contact us for an appointment with our Board-certified endodontist. We offer endodontics, such as root canals and other procedures, to help improve your oral health and ease tooth pain.

Can an Endodontist Fix Cracked Teeth?  

Largo Endodontics always utilizes the latest in dental technology, so we can offer the best diagnosis, treatment, and care for our patients’ teeth. Our Largo endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman, is a board-certified endodontist who works to preserve the underlying structure of your teeth and save as much of your dental structure as possible.

You may experience a cracked tooth for many reasons, such as biting down on hard food, grinding your teeth, or damage due to a traumatic injury. Sometimes teeth can crack just due to natural aging, or as the result of large fillings that left only a thin veneer of dental enamel. Signs of a cracked tooth often include pain or sensitivity to extreme temperatures, but some patients don’t even realize they have a crack in a tooth until their dentist uncovers it during a regular check-up. If left untreated, the crack could allow bacteria to enter, leading to infection, pain, sensitivity, abscess, and possible loss of a tooth.

Cracked tooth

Coronation Dental Specialty Group, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

When you visit our dental office with a cracked tooth, we will first perform a thorough examination to determine the extent of the damage and recommend an appropriate course of treatment. Many patients are concerned about whether endodontic treatment can fix their cracked teeth, and that is certainly what we strive to achieve. The first consideration in determining whether our endodontist can repair your cracked tooth is to find out what type of crack it is. Cracks usually fall into a few possible categories that are generally treatable and non-treatable.

 

Cracked Teeth That Are Generally Treatable

  • Fractured Cusp: This is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum, or around a dental filling. When it becomes cracked or chipped, it can usually be repaired with a filling or dental crown. The doctor will assess whether the fracture has extended below the gum line and damaged the pulp.

 

  • Incomplete Crown Fracture: This is a crack that extends from the chewing surface of your tooth and moves downward toward the root. If the fracture stays above the gum line, the endodontist will be able to fix it.

 

Endodontic Treatment for Treatable Cracked Teeth

An endodontist is a doctor who treats conditions that affect the tooth pulp and the tissue surrounding the roots of your teeth. If a crack extends into the pulp of your tooth, our doctor may recommend root canal therapy to prevent the crack from spreading and causing further damage. A dental crown may be required to preserve the surface portion of your tooth. In some cases, your tooth may require endodontic retreatment if new damage or decay exposes the original root canal treatment.

 

Cracked Teeth That Are Generally Non-Treatable

Unfortunately, there are some situations where we might have to recommend an alternative form of treatment, such as an extraction.

  • Complete Crown Fracture: This is a more complex fracture that extends down the root of your tooth. In most cases, the tooth will need to be extracted. That is why we recommend early diagnosis and treatment for cracked teeth.

 

  • Split Tooth: If a cracked tooth is left untreated, it can actually cause your tooth to split into distinct segments. In some cases, we may be able to preserve a portion of the tooth, but it is unlikely that the entire tooth can be preserved.

 

  • Root Fracture: In some cases, the actual root of your tooth may fracture, either vertically or horizontally. This may go unnoticed without regular dental care and could result in endodontic surgery to attempt removal of the fractured root.

 

 

Tips to Prevent Cracked Teeth

Proper use of mouthguards, good oral hygiene, and regular visits to your dental professional are the best protection against cracked teeth. Be careful of grinding your teeth, biting down on hard objects, and never use your teeth to open items.

 

Largo Endodontics (formerly World Class Endo) is a specialized dental practice providing professional endodontic treatment. Dr. Ernest A Rillman, DMD is an endodontist who has served Largo, Florida, and the surrounding communities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Indian Rocks, Bell Air Bluffs, Seminole, Tampa, Palm Harbor, and Dunedin since 2004. Call us at 727-399-2969 to set an appointment and learn more about fixing cracked teeth.

 

Why You Need Another Root Canal: Endodontic Retreatment Explained

Endodontic procedures, such as root canals, are done to treat certain types of tooth problems and prevent additional decay or damage. In some cases, the original treatment that’s done leads to improper healing or results in new tooth problems. When this happens, your endodontist might recommend endodontic retreatment. Knowing more about this type of treatment can help you understand why it might be needed and what to expect from this procedure.

Reasons for Endodontic Retreatment

Endodontic procedures are meant to help eliminate tooth decay and treat damage in order to reduce the risk of infection or other problems. While these procedures are generally successful, some end up being unsuccessful for different reasons. This can lead to improper healing or ongoing pain and discomfort that lasts for several months or even years. When a treated tooth does not heal properly, this might be due to any of the following:

  • Complex canal problems that were not found when the original treatment was done
  • Narrow canal or curved canal that was not included in the original treatment
  • Contamination from saliva that entered the treated tooth
  • Dental restoration or crown was not done soon enough after the original endodontic treatment

In some cases, a new problem might occur that affects the original endodontic treatment. For example, new decay might develop in the treated tooth and lead to an infection. This can happen if the filling material in the root canal is exposed, allowing bacteria to enter. Crowns and fillings that become loose or cracked might also result in infection since these leave the inner part of the tooth exposed.

 

What to Expect from Endodontic Retreatment

When you need to have endodontic retreatment done, the process is somewhat similar to your original root canal or endodontic procedure. This starts with your endodontist reopening the treated tooth in order to get to the root canal filling. Your endodontist will then take the filling material out of this tooth and closely check it for signs of damage, decay, or other canals that need to be treated.

If the treated tooth has an infection, your endodontist will take the infected tissue out. Doing this helps prevent the infection from becoming worse. In serious cases, these infections can spread to other areas and require emergency care when they’re left untreated. After removing the infected tissue, your endodontist will then thoroughly clean the affected canal or canals and shape them. Once this is done, your endodontist will put new filling material in the canals. After the filling material is placed in the affected canals, your endodontist will cover the opening with a temporary filling.

If your endodontist has difficulty with this procedure, such as if you have very narrow canals or a blockage, endodontic surgery might be recommended. This procedure makes it possible for your endodontist to fully treat and seal the ends of the affected root.

 

After Endodontic Retreatment

As soon as the treated tooth heals, you’ll have a dental crown or another type of dental restoration put on it. This helps protect the treated tooth from bacteria, decay, and damage. Keep in mind that you’ll need to see your endodontist promptly once the tooth heals to have the dental restoration or crown placed on it. Waiting too long can lead to unsuccessful retreatment. When you have a crown or restoration placed, this helps restore the treated tooth’s function, so that you can chew and speak clearly.

After having this procedure done, it’s important to follow all of your endodontist’s instructions on how to care for the treated area. This helps prevent infections or other complications from occurring. For example, you might be told to avoid eating certain foods until your tooth heals. You might have slight discomfort after endodontic retreatment, but this should go away within a week or two.

If you need help with a tooth problem, please contact us to schedule an appointment with our endodontist, Dr. Ernest Rillman. Our office provides endodontic retreatment, root canals, and other services for patients in and around the Largo, FL area.

 

Regarding Covid-19 

March 28, 2020

Updates regarding Covid-19 are continuously changing and we are being sure to stay up-to-date with news released from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), ADA (American Dental Association), and AAE (American Association of Endodontists) for recommendations posted for dentists and dental specialists in regards to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As an endodontic practice, we at Largo Endodontics, Ernest Rillman DMD, your root canal specialist is primarily an emergency based practice. As such we are taking all appropriate and indicated precautions screening patients, and continuing to provide support to our dental colleagues and patients in the community. If you need us we are here.

We have always gone above and beyond in our sanitization and cleanliness but we are taking extra precautionary measures as recommended by the CDC and ADA. We are also having each patient who comes in wash their hands in our facility using our guidelines and are taking each patient’s temperature before we see them. We ask if you are feeling sick in any way to please postpone your appointment.

We are in this together and our patients and employees health and safety is our number one concern. Our office is open Monday through Thursday 9am to 5pm and Friday 9am to 2pm. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Please call us at (727) 399 – 2969.

For more information regarding the Coronavirus, please click HERE.

Thank you,
Ernest Rillman, DMD

Five Signs You Might Need A Root Canal 

With today’s technology, root canals are not nearly as painful and invasive as they were back in the day but people still hesitate on asking if they need one. So what are the top five signs that you may need a root canal?

  • #1 – Tooth Pain
  • #2 – Swollen or Inflamed Gums
  • #3 – Tooth Sensitivity
  • #4 – Painful Tooth Appears Darker
  • #5 – Tiny Bump on Gums

#1—Tooth Pain

The number one symptom of a potential root canal is tooth pain. This pain is not a once in a while occurrence. This is chronic, ongoing tooth pain that is difficult to ignore.

If you experience pain when you chew or when you put any sort of pressure on a certain area of your tooth, that is a good sign that the infected tooth may need a root canal.


#2—Swollen or Inflamed Gums

Are the gums near the source of the pain swollen, red, or showing raised bumps? An infected tooth will usually cause some sort of discomfort in the gum tissue surrounding it. If all the gums are inflamed, that may be the sign of a different issue, like gingivitis.


#3 – Tooth Sensitivity

Do hot or very cold drinks make the area extremely sensitive? That may be a sign that the temperature is affecting the pulp right through micro-fractures in the tooth itself, through the gum or anywhere where tooth decay has compromised the strength of the tooth. Or are you having a significant amount of pain in your tooth without any referable cause? It is likely that your tooth is decayed and your nerves are exposed. You should contact a Dentist or Endodontist near you. 


#4 – Darker Tooth

If you notice a discoloration or darkening of the painful tooth, this could be a sign of infection and/or nerve damage. Usually the affected tooth will start taking on a grey cast. That would mean it’s time to get examined by an Endodontist to know for sure.


#5 – Tiny Bump on Gums

Do you see a tiny bump on your gums that almost looks like a pimple? This is not a normal and this pus-filled ‘boil’ could mean a tooth infection. If this is near where you are experiencing pain, it could mean you need a root canal.

If you are experiencing any or all of these signs, it would be wise to consider booking an appointment to see if a root canal could be the solution. Until then, use ice to sooth the irritated area in the mouth and rinse with salt water to keep the area clean, especially after eating and drinking.

Root Canal Safety

Doctor addressing the patientThe relationship of our teeth and mouth to overall good health is indisputable. Endodontics plays a critical role in maintaining good oral health by eliminating infection and pain, and preserving our natural dentition.

A key responsibility of any dentist is to reassure patients who are concerned about the safety of endodontic treatment that their overall well-being is a top priority. The American Association of Endodontists website (www.aae.org) is the best place for anxious patients to obtain comprehensive information on the safety and efficacy of endodontics and root canal treatment.

While plenty of good information is available online from the AAE and other reliable resources, patients sometimes arrive in the dental office with misinformation. This has occurred with the long-dispelled “focal infection theory” in endodontics, introduced in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, Dr. Weston A. Price presented research suggesting that bacteria trapped in dentinal tubules during root canal treatment could “leak” and cause almost any type of generative systemic disease (e.g., arthritis; diseases of the kidney, heart, nervous, gastroinestinal, endocrine and other systems). This was before medicine understood the causes of such disease.

Dr. Price advocated tooth extraction—the most traumatic dental procedure—over endodontic treatment. This theory resulted in a frightening era of tooth extraction both for treatment of systemic disease and as a prophylactic measure against future illness. Dr. Price’s research techniques were criticized at the time they were published, and by the early 1930s, a number of well-designed studies using more modern research techniques discredited his findings.

Decades of research have contradicted Dr. Price’s findings since then. In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association published a special edition reviewing the scientific literature and shifted the standard of practice back to endodontic treatment for teeth with non-vital pulp in instances where the tooth could be saved. The JADA reviewed Dr. Price’s research techniques from the 1920s and noted that they lacked many aspects of modern scientific research, including absence of proper control groups and induction of excessive doses of bacteria.

More recent research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall systemic health. In 2007, the American Heart Association updated its guidelines on the prevention of infective endocarditis, drastically curbing the indications for premedication for dental procedures and excluding endodontic treatment from dental procedures requiring premedication. In April 2012, the AHA found no scientific evidence linking periodontal disease and heart disease, concluding that heart disease and periodontal disease often coincidentally occur in the same person due to common risk factors of smoking, age and diabetes mellitus.

Decades of research contradict the beliefs of “focal infection” proponents; there is no valid, scientific evidence linking endodontically treated teeth and systemic disease. Yet some patients still hear about this long-dispelled theory.

 

Dentists are asked to use the following guidelines to address patients who inquire about a connection between root canal treatment and illness:

  • Acknowledge the patient’s concerns; stress that optimum health is the goal for every dental patient.
  • Provide the patient with written information about endodontic treatment, and discuss it. The AAE has a variety of patient education brochures available for purchase (www.aae.org/onlinestore).
  • Provide the patient with information from the AAE website about common root canal myths:
    www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/root-canals/myths-about-root-canals-and-root-canal-pain.aspx#2.
  • Indicate that the patient is in control of his/her own decision to move forward with any dental procedure, and reiterate a commitment to the highest quality dental care.

References

Myths About Root Canals and Root Canal Pain

There are many misconceptions surrounding root canal (endodontic) treatment and whether patients experience root canal pain. The American Association of Endodontists wants you to have accurate information. As always, when considering any medical procedure, you should get as much information as you can about all of your options. Your dentist or endodontist can answer many of your questions, and if you still have concerns, it is often wise to seek a second opinion.

  • Myth #1—Root canal treatment is painful.
  • Myth #2—Root canal treatment causes illness.
  • Myth #3—A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

Myth #1—Root canal treatment is painful.

Truth—Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it.

The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.

Most patients see their dentist or endodontist when they have a severe toothache. The 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.


Myth #2—Root canal treatment causes illness.

Truth — Root canals treat illness and remove infection.

The myth: Patients searching the Internet for information on root canals may find sites claiming that teeth receiving root canal (endodontic) treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body. This false claim is based on long-debunked and poorly designed research performed nearly a century ago by Dr. Weston A. Price, at a time before medicine understood the causes of many diseases.

In the 1920s, Dr. Price advocated tooth extraction—the most traumatic dental procedure—over endodontic treatment. This resulted in a frightening era of tooth extraction both for treatment of systemic disease and as a prophylactic measure against future illness.

The truth: There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body. A root canal is a safe and effective procedure. When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.

  • The presence of bacteria in teeth and the mouth has been an accepted fact for many years. But the presence of bacteria does not constitute “infection” and is not necessarily a threat to a person’s health. Bacteria are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma. Research shows that the healthy immune system takes care of bacteria in a matter of minutes.
  • Tooth extraction is a traumatic procedure and is known to cause a significantly higher incidence of bacteria entering the bloodstream; endodontic treatment confined to the root canal system produces much less trauma and a much lower incidence and magnitude of bacteria entering the blood stream.
  • There is no adequate replacement for the natural tooth – it should be saved whenever possible. Root canal treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost effective way to treat infected teeth because it is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of an implant. In most cases, endodontic treatment allows patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

But what about Dr. Price? This is a good example of how the Internet can give new life to long-dispelled theories. Believe it or not, the misinformation about roots canals that is found on the Internet is still based on Dr. Price’s century-old, discredited research. Dr. Price’s research techniques were criticized at the time they were published, and by the early 1930s, a number of well-designed studies using more modern research techniques discredited his findings. In 1951, the Journal of the American Dental Association took the extraordinary step of publishing a special edition reviewing the scientific literature and shifted the standard of practice back to endodontic treatment for teeth with non-vital pulp in instances where the tooth could be saved. The JADA reviewed Dr. Price’s research techniques from the 1920s and noted that they lacked many aspects of modern scientific research, including absence of proper control groups and induction of excessive doses of bacteria.

As recently as 2013, research published in JAMA Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery, found that patients with multiple endodontic treatments had a 45 percent reduced risk of cancer.

Reference


Myth #3—A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

Truth—Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option.

Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.

Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.

Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.

Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.

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, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment, endodontists and dentists worldwide enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

How to Make the Most of Your Dental Insurance

You finally make the leap and start paying for dental insurance this year, so it only makes sense to understand the best way to utilize your plan and take full advantage of everything it offers. We hope that our tips below will help you make the most of each monthly payment towards dental insurance to not only get the most out of it but also to make you smile bigger :D. 

 

 

Get to know your plan

Many people don’t end up getting the most out of their dental insurance simply because they don’t take the time to learn about all of its benefits. When you sign up, take the time to get to know your plan, doing the research to find out what exactly is covered under your plan. Also, don’t be hesitant to ask your Dental Provider what all your insurance will cover. Not only will you be able to receive more treatments, but you will also avoid any surprises down the line.

 

Go over the explanation of benefits

An explanation of benefits is issued to both you and your Dentist each time a claim has been paid (or denied). Be sure to reach over this notice so you are aware of the process and how to react if necessary.

Know your annual limits and use it

Many patients are unaware of the annual limit established by their insurance provider. Being aware of your annual limit comes in especially handy when you need a multi-part procedure such as a root canal. If possible, try scheduling a root canal treatment at the end of the year and then your crown at the beginning of January. This will prevent you from going over your annual limit and save some for the next year!

 

Schedule treatment when you are eligible for the most dental insurance coverage.

If you can, try to plan out your more complex dentistry. For example, if you are near the end of your plan’s year and you’ve already maxed our year dental coverage cap, ask your Dentist or Endodontists if you can schedule the non-urgent treatment after your cap resets. This can help you minimize out-of-pocket costs.

 

The more you know about your dental plan and available benefits, the better prepared you’ll be to get the dental care you want and need. And as we know, dental needs never come at a planned or convenient time. It’s always when you least expect it that you get a toothache or cracked tooth so be sure to plan ahead.