(a) What's the difference between a dentist and an endodontist?
While all endodontists are dentists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists. Just like a doctor in any other field, endodontists are specialists because they've completed an additional two or more years of training beyond dental school. Their additional training focuses on diagnosing tooth pain and root canal treatment, and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. In many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment. For this reason, endodontists proudly refer to themselves as Specialists in Saving Teeth.
Endodontists Have Advanced Education
To become specialists, endodontists have two to three years of additional education in an advanced specialty program in endodontics after completing four years of dental school. They focus on studying diseases of the dental pulp and how to treat them.
Endodontists Have Specialized Expertise
Endodontists Are Experts in Pain Management
Endodontists Use Cutting-Edge Technologies
Endodontists have materials and equipment designed to make your treatment more comfortable and successful. They use a small sheet of latex called a dental dam to isolate the tooth during treatment, protecting the rest of your mouth. Digital radiographs and 3-D imaging allow endodontists to take detailed pictures of tiny tooth anatomy to better see the root canals and any related infections. The space inside root canals is smaller than FDR's ear on the dime! Endodontists use dental operating microscopes to better see inside the root canals to thoroughly treat them.
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(b) If you accept my Insurance, will it cover 100% of my treatment cost?
Short answer – NO
Long answer - As stated in our mission statement, our primary objective is to provide high-quality Endodontics care at the highest ethics, whereas the insurance company's primary objective may be to earn a profit for its shareholders. Yes, we are in business to earn a profit too, but we cannot allow the insurance company to dictate the standard and quality of care delivered to you. As health care professionals, we make the decision based on what's best for your endodontic needs, but your policy coverages may be based on what was negotiated between the insurance company and you/your employer. This sometimes may cause confusion to patients, and therefore, we would like to share some additional information about how dental insurance works. The most common confusion is about how an insurance company determines various procedure fees known as UCR (Usual and Customary). Many insurance company devices their fees based on a few factors, including geographic area, average fees, discounts to that fee, and arrives arbitrary number it considers as UCR fees. Their price discovery method may include discount dental clinics and managed care facilities, which obviously bring down their average considerably. Also, many insurance plans state that their coverages are "up to 50, 80, or 100 percent," but do a poor job of explaining the important factors such as plan fee-schedule allowances, annual plan maximums, or frequency limitations..etc. In fact, we do not exactly know what else insurance companies stated when they sold the plan to your employer. Hence, those insurance reimbursements may not represent the practical fee for a given procedure. On average, it's more realistic to expect dental insurance to cover 40 - 75% of major procedures such as Root canals treatments. Remember, the amount your insurance plan pays depends on what was negotiated between the insurance & employer, and as a result, you get back only what your employer put in, less the profits of the insurance company. Additionally, as a result of processing these insurance claims, our office incurs significant expenses, including benefit verification, multiple phone calls, submitting & resubmitting claims or x-rays (to cover insurance companies normal excuses such as "never received" them), excessive paperwork, mailing and redundant billing (these are some of the reasons why many of the top doctors are completely getting out of the insurances and option to become –fee-for-service providers). Hence, we request your patience as it takes a few weeks for claims to be processed; sometimes, it's not unusual for 2-3 months and occasionally longer! Therefore, non-payment, excessive correspondences, and delays may be passed on to the patient.
we all need to recognize that mostly dental insurance is never a pay-all; it is only an aid or supplement like a discount card.
(c) How much does Root Canal costs?
The cost of your procedure will be determined by the location of the tooth in the mouth and the type of treatment that needs to be performed, depending on the diagnosis. You will be informed of the diagnosis and fee before treatment is initiated. Please be advised that any additional cost associated with the final restoration after the root canal treatment will need to be discussed with your general dentist.
(d) Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Our goal is to provide a completely pain-free procedure. More often than not, patients do not feel any pain during treatment. We expect to provide painless endodontic therapy by relying on comprehensive local anesthesia. Even though today's technological advancement has made these experiences mostly pain free but still the old stigma of Root Canal Pain is pretty much prevalent among patients. Many of our patients head back to work soon after the root canal completion, straight from our office to theirs. After therapy, some sensitivity is expected but is usually well managed with OTC (over the counter) medications. Specific instructions for the management of discomfort will be provided at the time of root canal therapy. For a few situations which require stronger pain management intervention, our doctors will provide additional support, including prescription-strength medications.
(e) Do you offer Sedation options?
Yes, we do offer sedation options, and these are your 3 options.
Nitrous Oxide (commonly known as Laughing Gas)
Nitrous oxide is a safe and effective option available to significantly reduce your fears and discomfort during your dental visit. It is for mild to moderate anxiety with a proven safety record. You will not need someone to escort you from the office as it is quick-acting with few side effects. Under nitrous oxide, you remain conscious and able to breathe on your own. A local anesthetic is required to ensure your comfort during the treatment. Nitrous oxide is administered along with oxygen through a small nose mask. This sedation option requires the ability to breathe through the nose during the treatment.
Oral Conscious Sedation
Oral sedation utilizes sedative medication taken by mouth to help reduce anxiety during your dental visit. Oral sedation will put you at ease; however, your doctor will still administer local anesthetic to provide you comfort during your treatment. Oral sedation is effective for mild to moderate anxiety in most cases, and it is safe and easy, leaving you able to speak and breathe on your own. Although you will not actually be asleep, you will enjoy a heightened state of relaxation. Many times nitrous oxide can be combined with oral sedation for an enhanced effect if needed. A consultation and examination appointment is generally required. You will be asked to have an adult companion take you home following the appointment. The oral medication is administered in the office prior to the treatment, and you will be monitored throughout the treatment for your comfort and safety.
IV Sedation & General Anesthetic
IV sedation and general anesthetic are both extremely effective for patients with moderate to severe anxiety. This sedation option is quick-acting, and the level of sedation can be adjusted during the treatment so that you remain comfortable at all times. During IV (intravenous) sedation, the medications are administered into the bloodstream by a specially trained dental anesthesiologist to achieve a state of "deep conscious sedation" to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the procedure. A local anesthetic is administered after the sedation takes effect to make certain you don't feel any pain. Your breathing, heart rate/rhythm, and blood pressure will be monitored throughout the procedure. Patients generally recover quickly, although they may feel groggy immediately afterward. The fasting and medication usage requirements will be discussed by the dental anesthesiologist ahead of time. Choosing this option will require ADDITIONAL certified Anesthesiologist services. Anesthesiologist services are independent of our services, and their fees will be additional and NOT part of our services. Our office will facilitate the initial contact for scheduling purposes only, but all fees/payments should be made directly to the anesthesiologist's office.
About Board Certified Endodontist
ARE ALL ENDODONTISTS ARE BOARD CERTIFIED?
All Endodontists must be licensed to practice, but at this time, it's estimated only 1 in 5 Endodontists has continued on to complete Board Certification. The American Board of Endodontics (ABE) certification process signifies a unique achievement—a significant step beyond the two to three years of advanced education required for a dentist to become a specialist in Endodontics. The process requires the Endodontist to demonstrate actual accomplishments in patient care with detailed case reports on the treatment provided for a broad range of patient problems. Board certification is a voluntary achievement that all Endodontists do not choose to pursue. In order to become board certified by the ABE, an individual Endodontist is thoroughly interviewed by a highly respected panel of examiners to demonstrate their endodontic knowledge, clinical skills, and judgment.
HOW MANY CERTIFYING BOARDS ARE RECOGNIZED BY THE AMERICAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION IN THE SPECIALTY OF ENDODONTICS?The American Board of Endodontics (ABE) is the only certifying board in the specialty that is recognized by the American Dental Association. The ABE was founded in 1956, and the board's purpose is to elevate the quality of endodontic care for the public by promoting excellence through certification, education, and professional collaboration.
WHY WOULD AN ENDODONTIST CHOOSE TO COMPLETE THIS VOLUNTARY CERTIFICATION PROCESS?Successful completion of the examination process demonstrates the Endodontist's highest commitment to excellence in Endodontics – to both the endodontic profession and the general public. It represents a commitment by a licensed specialist that he/she has the necessary knowledge base and skills to treat patients to the highest of standards. It exemplifies a practitioner's commitment to continue to keep abreast of the latest advances in patient care and to continue to deliver these latest advances to patients. Many Endodontists see it as a demonstration of their dedication to the specialty and the highest level of personal achievement.
WHAT STEPS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE ABE CERTIFICATION PROCESS?
Endodontic Board Certification requires a three-part examination. The process involves a one-day Written Examination that tested a broad range of fields, including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, immunology, microbiology, radiology, statistics, clinical endodontics, and related disciplines. Successful completion of this "board exam" allows the Endodontist to proceed to the "Case History Examination," where they present diverse and complex case reports from their practice, demonstrating exceptional knowledge, skills, and expertise in the full scope of the field of endodontics. The final phase of the Board Certification is an oral exam, where a team of experts questioned the endodontist about a variety of diagnosis and treatment situations. Throughout the extensive interview, the endodontist demonstrated a high level of skill in problem-solving, decision making, analysis, creativity, and evaluation.