Frequently Asked Questions
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a the branch of dentistry that deals with diseases of the pulp and its supporting structures. Endodontists are dental specialists with an additional two or more years of post-graduate specialized training beyond dental school. The average endodontist completes 25 root canal treatments a week, while general dentists do about two root canals a week. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that may be difficult to diagnose.
Dr. Jack Welch has been serving patients through specialty endodontic care in the Atlanta area for over 20 years. While providing the highest quality of care, his patient-centered approach is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences and needs.
What is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a specialist in saving teeth. They have a practice limited to root canal treatment and other procedures involving the soft inner tissue of the tooth (dental pulp) and the tissues surrounding the tooth in the jaw bone. An endodontist completes two or three years of advanced training beyond dental school.
When to see an endodontist?
If you’re experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, suspect a cracked tooth or suffered dental trauma, or your dentist recommended root canal treatment, you should see Dr. Welch for an endodontic consultation. Dr. Welch will evaluate your need for a root canal and communicate his care with your dentist.
What is endodontic treatment?
Also known as a root canal, endodontic treatment becomes necessary when the dental pulp is permanently injured. Tooth decay, repeated fillings, physical trauma, or periodontal disease are possible causes. Your pain is relieved after removal of the inflamed or infected pulp. Dr. Welch will carefully clean and shape the canal system and then seal the prepared space with a biocompatible dental filling material.
Most treatment is now performed in one visit, usually within 90 minutes (depending on the complexity of the root and number of canals). Once endodontics treatment is completed, you will be provided instructions of post operative care. Once healed, you will need to return to your general dentist for a permanent restoration. This restoration is a very important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth, and restores it to function.
What are the alternative treatments?
Once the dental pulp is irreversibly damaged, the only alternative to a root canal is a tooth extraction. But with an extraction it is possible that the adjacent teeth will shift, interfering with biting and chewing unless the tooth is replaced by an implant, bridge, or partial denture. Shifting can also lead to periodontal disease. Replacement of the extracted tooth with an implant, bridge, or partial denture often costs more than root canal treatment and permanent restoration.
How many appointments are necessary?
Most cases referred to us are complex with treatment requiring one or more visits of about 90 minutes each. We will review potential treatment complications with you before getting started. Due to the length of the visits, we request that parents make arrangements for small children to remain at home.
Can all teeth be endodontically treated?
While not every tooth can be saved, modern endodontic therapy enjoys a success rate of over 90 percent. Occasionally, an additional surgical procedure is needed if the tissues surrounding the tooth do not heal normally after root canal. We’ll discuss potential complications prior to your treatment.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Thanks to modern local anesthetics, along with the latest techniques and instruments, you should experience little to no discomfort. If you do experience discomfort, however, please signal us and we will do everything possible to make you more comfortable.