3 Ways to Get the Best Quality Root Canal
Your dentist told you that you need a root canal and you’re worried. Don’t be. Root canals have been proven safe and effective to help us keep our natural teeth. In fact, you’re joining about 22.3M others who get a root canal annually in the US.
However, not all root canals are done with the same level of quality. In fact, research in the Journal of the American Dental Association indicates that between 30%-50% of root canals are not done to industry standards, and the numbers get worse further back in your mouth with molars only done correctly about 30% of the time. A root canal done poorly may need to be retreated or eventually extracted because of poor quality work.
Ensure that you get good quality dental care with a few simple tips:
1. Talk Quality With Your DentistBefore a root canal, be sure to talk about quality and how you will both agree that the work was done well. Root canals can be more or less complicated depending on a number of factors. For example, molars are much more difficult than the front teeth. Also, there is no simple and consistent root structure in our teeth. Does your dentist have the best equipment to make sure he/she finds all the canals in your teeth? A missed canal means you may need to get retreated, another root canal. If your case is more complicated are you willing to take the time to be treated by a specialist (Endodontist)? While this usually means going to another dental office, it may greatly increase your chances of getting good work. In general, most dentist welcome the opportunity to discuss the quality of the work they provide. Knowing you care about quality means both you and the dentist are focused on the same thing and working together to achieve the same result.
2. Review for QualityAfter your procedure ask the dentist to show you the work and walk you through what was done. Ask him/her to show you both the pre- and post-operative x-rays or scans. As you look at the images keep an eye out for a few signs of quality: • Darkness at the root end – A dark spot at the end of your root usually means bacteria or some problem. When the root canal was done your dentist cleaned and disinfected the area that should have eliminated that. • Root canal length – The most common mistake in a Root Canal procedure is incorrectly refilling the canal inside your tooth; the root canal can be over or under filled. This could cause a future infection or pain. However, if you find it quickly your dentist may be able to fix the problem right away, before things set. • Perforation – Sometimes when doing a root canal, the dentist drills a hole through the side of the tooth. This can let in more bacteria or weaken the tooth. • Separated instrument – It’s also possible for a small piece of a file or equipment to break of inside your mouth. It’s rare but can happen.
3. Verify the WorkNow that you and your dentist have agreed on the importance of quality and reviewed the work together, it’s a good time to verify what you’ve seen. You can submit a request at www.veritooth.com to get your root canal verified by an impartial specialist. Once you make a request your dental office will be asked to upload your pre- and post-operative x-rays to VeriTooth’s secure environment. All patient and dentist information is hidden and the work is reviewed on its own merit by an impartial specialist. You get a full report on how well it meets agreed-upon dental industry standards.
Root canals may be a bit intimidating, but they don’t need to be as long as you’re armed with good information and make sure the dentist knows how important quality is to you.