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Questions & Answers About Root Canals

What symptoms indicate a need for a possible root canal?

In some cases there are symptoms to indicate a root canal is needed. Common symptoms include temperature sensitivity, tenderness when chewing, or swelling. You may be experiencing prolonged, throbbing ache, extreme sensitivity to hot or cold or pain when biting or swelling. If you experience any of these symptoms you should contact your general dentist or Dr. Hedrick, to evaluate and properly diagnose your symptoms. .

What if I am not experiencing symptoms and my general dentist has referred me to Dr. Hedrick?

Pain is not the only sign a root canal is needed. Routine examination and radiographs by your dentist may reveal the need for a root canal. Testing of the tooth in question would confirm if a root canal is necessary. Dr. Hedrick has extensive training in microscopic root canal therapy and, when necessary, use a 3 dimensional xray to evaluate the tooth and it’s apex more extensively than a general dentist can.

What does Endodontics mean?

“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth”. In endodontics we work inside the tooth.

What is a root canal?

The root canal is the area inside of the root where the pulp and nerve are located.

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is the process of removing the irritated or infected pulp and nerve inside of the root canal.

Who performs the root canal?

Saving a tooth is an important decision. Retaining the root of the tooth is the most significant way to insure that bone around the tooth which anchors the tooth in place is not lost. Loss of a tooth leads to shifting teeth, affecting your bite, and bone loss which may cause the loss of other teeth surrounding the open space.

While any general dentist is qualified to do a root canal, an Endodontic specialist has an additional two to three years of training in root canal therapy. Endodontists perform the procedure on a daily basis and their practice is limited to root canal therapy. This makes for a more painless, faster and accurate procedure. Dr. Hedrick’s unique experience as a general dentist before returning to endodontic specialty training enables him to see the tooth being saved in it’s relation to the total occlusion and treatment plans for your own specific need. Dr. Hedrick’s relationships with the dentists who refer to him are exemplary. (See Gregg Langston testimonial)

Why should an Endodontic specialist do my root canal?

In most cases, an Endodontic practice is equipped with the latest technology, information, and experience with the current techniques of root canal therapy. The focus is solely on root canals. At St. Petersburg Endodontics, Dr. Randy Hedrick utilizes 3D technology in the form of cone beam cat scan to evaluate the tooth in its relationship to the rest of the mouth. He is able to see pulp chambers in the root of the tooth that the average dentist can not see. To date, he is the only endodontist in St. Petersburg who offers this diagnostic technology. In addition, Dr. Randy utilizes a microscope when performing his procedure which enables attention to even the most difficult curved root scenario that may be necessary.

What are the advantages of EndoVac root canal disinfection?

What are the advantages of non-tapered root canal files?

Why do I need a root canal?

There are many different reasons you may need a root canal. The main objective is to keep your natural tooth. If you allow your tooth to go untreated, there is a chance that you could end up with an active infection, called an abscess, which can be painful. In addition to an infection, you could lose supportive bone around the roots. Inflammation is another reason that a root canal may be necessary…..

Will I have pain during my root canal?

Most often endodontic treatment is performed to relieve the pain inside the tooth. Endodontic anesthetic techniques commonly allow the procedure to be completed in a comfortable manner.

Will I have pain after the root canal?

In some cases for the first few days after treatment you may experience tenderness to bite pressure especially if you had swelling or pain prior to the root canal. Dr. Hedrick will make every effort to insure your post operative healing is as comfortable as possible. The discomfort is most often relieved with over the counter medications. It will be important to follow instructions to minimize your discomfort.

What caused my tooth to need a root canal?

There are a variety of reasons, including deep decay, trauma, cracks, and prior treatment of the tooth.

What are signs that I need a root canal?

Prolonged sensitivity to hot and or cold, swelling, a throbbing ache, and pain to biting on the tooth are the most common symptoms. However not every tooth that requires a root canal has symptoms. Pain is not the only indication that a root canal is needed. In some cases radiographs taken and evaluated by your dentist will show a root canal is needed.

How can you be sure I really need a root canal?

An Endodontist is specially trained to test and diagnose the need for a root canal. In some cases when a root canal is not needed, Dr. Hedrick will guide you in the proper direction for restoration.

Is a root canal the removal of my root?

No, it is not the removal of your root. Your root is a part of your tooth and the root is what holds the tooth in place inside of your jaw bone.

How much will my root canal cost and does my insurance cover any of the cost?

The fees for root canals vary depending on which tooth needs treatment. See financial information.

Will I have to do anything to my tooth after my root canal?

After a root canal you will need to return to your dentist to have the tooth restored. An Endodontist is not a restorative dentist. However in some cases where only a final filling is required an Endodontist can place the filling.

Why do I need to have my root canal retreated?

The main reason you need a re-treatment is because your previous root canal has become re-contaminated with bacteria.

What are alternatives to a root canal?

The alternative is extraction. However, to maintain proper chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, the extracted tooth should be replaced with a bridge or an implant. This can be more costly and can damage adjacent teeth or require multiple surgeries and procedures to place and restore an implant with a crown.

Why do I need an Apicoectomy (Endodontic surgery)?

In most cases an Apicoectomy is recommended when all other options have been exhausted.

Get in touch

4805 49th Street North
St Petersburg, FL 33709

Tel:  727.521.2285
Fax: 727.521.6509

Monday - Wednesday
7:00 am - 7:00 pm
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
8:00 am - 12:00 pm



“Dr. Randall Hedrick has continually demonstrated his commitment to providing the best dental care during my two years as a patient. He is supported by his dedicated team & they combine to provide a warm and caring environment for endodontic dentistry. ”

-Sarah W., patient



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