When you have tooth pain, you may not know the type of treatment you need. By making an appointment for an endodontic evaluation, you will have a specialist in saving teeth examine you to find the best solution for your pain. But what happens during an endodontic evaluation? Does it hurt? Here’s what you need to know at your first endodontic visit.
Why You May Need an Appointment with an Endodontist
Endodontists treat dental pain and cracked teeth by stopping internal infections. Consequently, they can save damaged teeth from needing extraction. By keeping your teeth, you’ll avoid the pain and expense of prosthetic dental appliances, such as partial dentures or dental implants. Plus, your smile will continue to stay looking good.
The following are among the most common reasons that people seek endodontic care:
- Have a referral from your dentist for specialty endodontic treatment.
- Experience a traumatic injury to a tooth, such as a broken tooth.
- Crack a Tooth
- Have pain in a tooth that previously had root canal treatment
- Feel symptoms that you may need a root canal, such as pain, swelling at the gum line, a pimple on the gums, prolonged sensitivity, or pain when biting.
Don’t put off scheduling a visit if you have any of the above conditions. Decay continues to eat away at the inside of a tooth without regard to the timing of your appointment. If you do need a root canal to stop an infection inside your tooth, waiting too long could also mean that even the best endodontist cannot save the tooth. Schedule an evaluation to find out if you need endodontic care.
What to Bring to an Endodontic Evaluation
When you schedule your endodontic evaluation, coming to the appointment prepared can help the front desk and doctor to get you through the visit more quickly.
First, make sure to have your dental insurance card with you. Even if the endodontist is out-of-network on your plan, the office can still file a claim with your insurer while you pay a 50% deposit on the services provided.
Second, complete the new patient forms online. You must input your basic information, medical history, and a list of the medications you currently take. If you cannot complete forms online, at least bring a listing of your existing medications to your evaluation for your endodontist to review. The medical history and prescription information will help the doctor to find the proper treatment for you.
Third, if your child or teenager under 18 needs endodontic care, plan to come to all endodontic appointments with them.
Finally, if you first visited your dentist and got a referral to an endodontist, bring the referral with you and any images your dentist took. With this information in hand, your endodontist has a head start on diagnosing your issue and choosing an endodontic treatment to help it.
What Happens During an Endodontic Evaluation
During your evaluation, the endodontist will ask questions, take images, and do tests to find the cause of your pain and the extent of damage to your tooth.
The questions the endodontist asks will depend on the reason for the evaluation, such as a cracked tooth or a referral from a dentist for a root canal. Some of these questions may include:
- Do you have tooth sensitivity to hot and cold?
- Does biting hurt?
- Do you have pain that is so severe you cannot sleep, or it wakes you up?
- Do you grind your teeth?
- How long has your tooth hurt?
- Do you remember how you injured your tooth?
- Can you identify the specific tooth that hurts?
Questions similar to the ones above help the endodontist to learn more about the background of your tooth pain or injury. This information will help them to decide whether you need endodontic care.
With the questions, the doctor will also collect data from you by taking images of your teeth and conducting tests. Imaging may include taking digital X-rays or using cone-beam technology to get three-dimensional images.
Tests may include those that determine the sensitivity of your teeth or periapical tests to evaluate your bite. These tests help the doctor to pinpoint the source of dental pain, especially because many patients have vague sensations of pain on one side of their mouth instead of in a single tooth.
Once they finish testing and examining your mouth, the endodontist will create an action plan for you.
The Goals of an Evaluation by an Endodontist
When an endodontist examines you, they have several goals in mind. By the end of the evaluation, the doctor should be able to first decide if you need endodontic treatment or another form of care. For example, in some cases, a tooth may have severe decay that progressed too far for endodontic treatment to save it. The doctor may recommend the patient have their dentist extract the tooth.
For dental pain, the endodontist should know after evaluating your mouth where the problem started and which tooth needs endodontic treatment. Identifying the source of the pain is essential in determining if you need endodontic treatment. For instance, gum inflammation could indicate a need for root canal therapy due to an internal infection or periodontal treatment to stop the progression of gum disease.
If you do need treatment, the endodontist will know whether you need a surgical or non-surgical procedure. Root canal therapy and endodontic retreatment are non-surgical options that require less time for the procedure and healing than surgeries. Surgery can save a tooth in cases where non-surgical procedures won’t help. The endodontist will talk to you about the types of treatment under consideration and help you to understand what they involve.
Finally, the endodontist will want you to leave feeling comfortable with the doctor’s decision and aware of the reason for needing endodontic care. If you have any questions during the evaluation, feel free to ask them. You should have a complete understanding of the situation and the treatment that you will receive.
What Are the Next Steps After the Evaluation?
After your evaluation, follow through on the doctor’s suggestions. If they request that you schedule an appointment for a root canal or endodontic surgery, do so as soon as you can. Waiting too long for treatment can allow the conditions in your tooth to worsen and extend the time that you feel pain.
Do You Need a Trusted Endodontist in Houma or Thibodaux?
Whatever your complaint, trust our doctors at Southern Endodontic Specialists to give you a thorough endodontic evaluation to choose the best treatment to save your teeth. Contact us to set up your visit at our Thibodaux or Houma locations. Our conveniently located clinics make it even easier to get trusted endodontic care that can correct painful problems and preserve your smile.