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Paul
01-30-2005, 04:24 PM
I am amazed by how much root-canal treatment has changed since the last time I had it done.

To be clear, that was in 1972. It required repeat visits, each consisting of protracted scraping inside the tooth, accompanied by ghastly noises that seemed to originate from somewhere inside my head that no sounds should come from. It was painful, even with local anesthesia, and scary. And that was a comparatively easy root canal, too, since the tooth wasn't infected.

This time, the tooth was in much worse shape. I went to my dentist on Monday, two weeks ago tomorrow, and received a prescription for penicillin-VK and a referral to an endodontist in the same (very large) group practice a week later. So last Monday I was there, and the only thing that kept me from collapsing in fear was the secret pleasure of missing work - an entire day because the appointment was at 11:45 and the travel time is long enough that it wasn't worthwhile to go to work in the morning.

The procedure took exactly one hour, start to finish, and was complete in one session. A lot of this is from improved technology, the most surprising of which was a digital x-ray system. It entailed putting a tiny CCD (I guess) inside my mouth, to see the pictures instantly on a computer monitor. They told me that it resulted in only 1/10 the radiation exposure of a conventional dental radiograph, but they took about 10 pictures, one at every stage of the process.

The endodontist said that the tooth would need a crown, but I could have my regular dentist start on that two days later, so I was back on Wednesday. I've been back once since to have the temporary crown reattached.

JVegVT
02-01-2005, 08:12 PM
I am amazed by how much root-canal treatment has changed since the last time I had it done.

The procedure took exactly one hour, start to finish, and was complete in one session. A lot of this is from improved technology, the most surprising of which was a digital x-ray system.

So there was much less pain, too? And what about the horrible noises?

My husband has had a few root canals, I've never had one. I've had three or four extractions and three crowns. My hope is that I'll never need a root canal, but you never know. I am a total dental chicken!
--Judy M.

ktinkel
02-02-2005, 05:49 AM
So there was much less pain, too? And what about the horrible noises?

My husband has had a few root canals, I've never had one. I've had three or four extractions and three crowns. My hope is that I'll never need a root canal, but you never know. I am a total dental chicken!
--Judy M.I was surprised at Paul’s description myself. I have had dozens of root canals, beginning in the 1960s, and none were as quick and easy as the one he just had. (I had a repair to one a couple of years ago, which was something they used to say couldn’t be done.)

You are lucky to have such good teeth, but if you were presented with the option of having a root canal or having a tooth pulled, I would suggest you opt for the root canal. It was never as bad as people say (in my experience, anyway), and it was usually the end of pain, not the beginning (since I usually had an infection). I find the noises are much worse with extractions, which get extremely mechanical.

Paul
02-02-2005, 07:25 AM
So there was much less pain, too? And what about the horrible noises?

--Judy M.

No pain, no noises. I would have been able to carry on a conversation if my mouth hadn't been full of equipment. It was frustrating when another person in the dental office looked in to ask the endodontist the location of a restaurant where they were meeting to celebrate someone's birthday later. He didn't know; it is right around the corner from my apartment.

Mervyn Long
02-07-2005, 07:26 AM
Paul - you obviouly have a good person doing the work. My experience of root canal work (quite extensive) has been relaxing and easy - far more easy that having my teeth cleaned for instance. But there again, I have a *great* bloke doing it who really knows his stuff.

Mervyn

Hugh Wyn Griffith
02-07-2005, 01:30 PM
<< ... the most surprising of which was a digital x-ray system. It entailed putting a tiny CCD (I guess) inside my mouth, to see the pictures instantly on a computer monitor. >>

I had a similar experience a few years ago -- they used laptops in each suite networked to a central server and their report, as sent to my dentist, included relevant images which they could mark up to point out specific areas if necessary.

Mine was a rear molar with 3 (4?) roots and cost about $800 so I guess they can afford the equipment -- it included a free 10,000 mile checkup a year later with new x-rays.

I asked my dentist when he would go over to digital and apart from the cost, he said that the resolution of the digital was not as good as film and that this was needed when he was looking for more subtle indications.

Paul
02-08-2005, 03:08 PM
Mine was a rear molar with 3 (4?) roots and cost about $800 so I guess they can afford the equipment -- it included a free 10,000 mile checkup a year later with new x-rays.

I asked my dentist when he would go over to digital and apart from the cost, he said that the resolution of the digital was not as good as film and that this was needed when he was looking for more subtle indications.

They're charging me $600 but if I had insurance they would charge $800. The insurance plan available to me would probably have paid $400, so this is costing me $200 more than if I had insurance, a net saving if I can avoid having it done too frequently.

It was hard to persuade them that I didn't have insurance, partly because I used to have it and they seem to be unable to update their records, and partly because self-pay patients seem to be very rare there.

As for the 10,000-mile checkup: a few years ago, I went to my dentist in OKC with a broken filling and asked if it was still under warranty. He said that it was, but I'd have to go to Detroit to have it repaired.