Why has my general dentist referred me to you? Why can't he/she perform the root canal in their office?

Both of our offices that serve the Clovis, Fresno and Madera areas are equipped with the instrumentation and technology necessary to perform successful root canal treatment. We use microscopes and special tools that your dental office may not have. Dr. Sabourin is an endodontist, which means he is a root canal specialist and root canals are all we do daily.

My tooth doesn't hurt but I've been informed by my dentist that I need a root canal. Do I really need one?

Your dentist has probably noticed a dark spot on a recent x-ray or you may have deep decay in a tooth that a filling will not remedy. The dead tissue in the canals of your tooth will need to be cleaned out and removed, as infection will inevitably develop and cause pain. To help save your tooth, avoid discomfort, and prevent possible extraction, the sooner a root canal treatment can be performed the better. Also, your root canal experience will be a much more pleasant experience while you are not having pain with your tooth.

Why do you require a referral from my dentist?

Your dentist has all of your dental history at hand and has a continuous relationship with you. Your dental office also has the ability to create crowns. A crown is the necessary final step of the root canal process, as it seals off the tooth and protects it after treatment. After your treatment is complete, our office will send a completion letter and final x-rays of your root canal to your dental office. This letter documents your treatment and informs your dentist that you will need to return to their office for a crown or final restoration.

My dentist said that I need a root canal with post and core build-up. What is that?

After Dr. Sabourin has cleaned and shaped the canals of your tooth (the root canal), a post and core-build-up is placed to give the tooth the support it needs to hold a crown. Our office commonly gives the “empty Styrofoam cup” example when explaining this. If you imagine how easy it is to squish an empty Styrofoam cup, this is what a root canal treated tooth is like without internal support. If you take the empty Styrofoam cup and add sand, it demonstrates the similar strength a post and core build-up provides your root canal treated tooth to support a crown.

My dentist said that I need a root canal with a post space. What is that?

After Dr. Sabourin has cleaned and shaped the canals of your tooth (the root canal), a post space and temporary filling are placed. Our office informs your dentist of the exact location of the post space in your tooth. Your dentist will open the tooth to access the post space and will place a post and core build-up before crown placement or final restoration.

My tooth already has a crown. Do I need a new crown after my root canal treatment?

This is a question best answered by your dentist and may depend on the condition and age of the crown. In most cases we are able to perform a root canal treatment through the crown without the crown needing to be replaced. We do advise that you return to your dentist for a permanent filling.

I've had a root canal before and my dentist informed me that I need a retreatment. How come I'm having problems with this tooth again and can it be retreated?

Sometimes when a root canal treatment is performed, small webs of tissue may remain. This can happen as a result of a canal not being cleaned all the way to the tip of the roots or from a missed canal not being treated. Dr. Sabourin will evaluate your tooth by taking x-rays and perform an exam to determine whether the tooth is savable and which option would provide the greatest rate of success: a retreatment or an apicoectomy. Retreatment of the tooth is performed in a similar manner as a root canal, ensuring that each canal has been cleaned out all the way to the tip of the roots. An apicoectomy is necessary to treat a tooth where the canals are blocked by an obstruction. A small incision is made in the gum and the obstructions and infected pulp are removed. Sutures are placed and a one week follow-up visit to remove the sutures is included in the apicoectomy process.

I've heard horror stories about root canals. I've never had one before. What can I expect?

Many advances have been made in the tools and technology used to perform root canal treatments. Dr. Sabourin uses top-of-the line tools and equipment such as microscopes to ensure the success of each treatment. Having the right tools for your treatment increases accuracy, limits discomfort and cuts down on the amount of time spent in the chair. Dr. Sabourin will administer a local anesthetic and will make sure that you are numb before he begins treatment. You should not feel any discomfort during your procedure. At most, you’ll feel slight pressure when each canal is cleaned.

After your root canal is complete, your tooth may feel a bit achy and tender. This discomfort can be managed with Advil or Tylenol and should subside in two days after treatment. The root canal experience is comparable to having a filling placed in your dental office. Dr. Sabourin has a gentle touch and will make sure you are as comfortable as possible before, during and after your treatment.