An unhealthy or infected tooth can be a source of significant distress, pain and concern. And waiting to schedule an appointment at times like these can be most nerve-racking. In fact, patients often wish they had convenient and prompt access to information and answers regarding some of the concerns they experience while they wait to be seen by a professional. We have therefore compiled a list of the most frequent mistakes that people commit, along with explanations provided by experienced Buffalo endodontist Dr. Aaron McCann.
Mistake #1: Waiting to See an Endodontist
If you dislodge a tooth and a dentist or an emergency room staff member replaces it, contact an endodontist within two weeks. The timing is very important because root canal therapy can both save the life of and ensure the health of that tooth.
In the case of an infection, a lot of people ask, “Why can’t I just take an antibiotic and make the infection go away?” If you take an antibiotic, it will help your symptoms go away, but the problem is inside the tooth. The only way to fix the problem is to go inside the tooth with a root canal procedure. We can actually go in and take care of the problem once and for all.
Teeth may hurt because of cavities that make them susceptible to cold, heat, or sweets. Only an endodontist can help determine why it hurts and find a way to relieve the pain. If there’s swelling, you might have an abscess, and we can eliminate the infection, returning you to your pain-free life.
- Antibiotics and emergency care only treat the symptoms of a problem, and do not actually help strengthen, repair or heal the affected tooth.
Mistake #2: Choosing the Wrong Endodontist
The first thing we suggest is a recommendation from your general dentist. If you have confidence in your dentist, you can have confidence in the specialist to whom they refer you. Speak with friends and family who can share their personal opinions. Do some research on the specific doctor, such as where they did their training and how much training they’ve had, what types of technology they’re using, and to ensure that they offer state-of-the-art treatment that follows the standard of care in every aspect.
- Always choose an endodontist you feel comfortable with and who is understanding, because communication will likely be limited while they are actually treating you.
Mistake #3: Assuming a Tooth Infection Will Not Spread
Physicians and researchers have conducted studies that reveal direct relationships between periodontal gum disease, heart disease and diabetes. Our bodies work interdependently. So if you’re unable to keep your mouth in its healthiest possible condition, it can actually affect other issues such as diabetes. It’s essential to see your dentist regularly and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
The focal infection theory, which contemplates the possibility that a tooth infection can cause infection in the whole body, is a question that frequently appears online and in discourse at holistic centers. Systems throughout our bodies are connected, and dental, oral, and periodontal infections can affect other aspects of the body – including heart conditions and diabetes. Normally, however, a dental infection coming from a tooth is a localized infection. If left untreated, such infection can spread and become more generalized.
- Untreated dental infections can very well spread to other parts of the face and head if left untreated.
Mistake #4: Assuming Insurance Will Not Cover Endodontic Treatments
Aside from the anticipated pain of the root canal procedure itself – people are most concerned about the cost. It’s difficult to give exact fees up front because we must first make a diagnosis and determine which tooth is affected. It’s also important to know if there’s been a previous root canal. Are we redoing something, or are we performing a surgery? Although fees vary based on the specifics of your case, the cost of replacing your tooth is usually greater than the cost of helping you save it.
When patients ask about dental insurance coverage, we tell them that most dental insurances will cover at least part of their procedure – and some even cover 100%. The extent of coverage is based on your employer and your specific plan, but our office staff will work with you and help submit your paperwork. We can also provide a pre-estimate to give you a clearer picture of your potential out-of-pocket cost.
- Contrary to popular belief, most dental insurance plans will completely cover root canals, while only some cover part of it.
Mistake #5: Just Taking Antibiotics
One way or another, bacteria found its way inside your tooth and caused infection. There may be a crack in your tooth or you may have had trauma to your tooth. Cavities are caused by bacteria slowly working their way inside the tooth and causing problems. The tooth will become inflamed, and you might have a toothache or sensitivity when you drink ice cold water or eat ice cream or other sweets. The dental infection itself is really inside the tooth so, in order to solve the problem, we have to actually go inside that tooth and fix it. Antibiotics simply mask the symptoms and, if the problem isn’t fixed, it usually comes back worse than the first time.
- Antibiotics only offer symptomatic and temporary relief without actually fixing the underlying problem that is causing the undesirable symptoms.
If you or a loved one is suffering from some form of dental trauma and require the services of a skilled, compassionate and experienced endodontist, please contact Dr. Aaron McCann of Precision Endodontics to begin your journey to recovery.