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Frequently Asked Questions

We at Southwest Endodontics believe that knowledge is power when it comes to making decisions about your dental treatment. Hopefully the information provided here will answer some of your questions regarding endodontics.

Are root canals safe?

Is a root canal painful?


The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago, but with the latest technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed.

Can a root canal treatment cause illness?

At the Endodontic office of Steven G. Starr, DDS, we believe knowledge is power when making decisions about your dental treatment. Hopefully this information will answer some of the questions you may have.Root canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure. Research studies performed in the 1930s and 1940s and those conducted more recently show no relationship between the presence of endodontically treated teeth and illness.


Is extraction a good alternative to root canal treatment?

Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the best 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. Placement of a bridge or an implant can require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.


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

Surgery FAQ's


What is endodontic surgery?

Endodontic surgery (or Apicoectomy) involves making an incision in the gums near the root of the infected tooth; infected tissue is removed and a filling is placed in the end of the root (retrofill). The gum tissue is then sutured and the tooth and surrounding tissue heals.


Other surgeries endodontists might perform include dividing a tooth in half, repairing an injured root, or even removing one or more roots. Dr. Starr will be happy to discuss the specific type of surgery your tooth requires.


Will the procedure hurt?

Local anesthetics make the procedure comfortable. Dr. Starr will recommend appropriate pain medication to alleviate any post-operative discomfort.


Can I drive myself home?

Whether you choose to have a driver available is up to you. We will not use any anesthetics which would make it unsafe for you to drive home.


When can I return to my normal activities?

Most patients return to work or other routine activities the next day. We will be happy to discuss your expected recovery time with you.


Does insurance cover endodontic surgery?

Each insurance plan is different. Check with your insurance company or plan coverages prior to treatment.


How do I know the surgery will be successful?

Your dentist (or Dr. Starr) is suggesting endodontic surgery because he/she believes it is the best option for saving your own natural tooth. Of course, there are no guarantees with any surgical procedure. Dr. Starr will discuss your chances for success so that you can make an informed decision.


What are the alternatives to endodontic surgery?

Often, the only alternative to surgery is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic surgery is usually the most biologic and cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.

No matter how effective modern artificial tooth replacements are—and they can be very effective—nothing is as good as a natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth by choosing to see a Root Canal Specialist. The pay-off for choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for the rest of your life.

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