Information for Patients

What is an endodontist?

An endodontist is a dental specialist who has studied for an additional 2 or 3 years beyond the normal curriculum included in dental school. Endodontics is one of the nine areas recognized as a specialty by the Canadian Dental Association.

What is a “root canal” procedure?

A “root canal” is a bio-medical procedure aimed at preventing or treating diseases of the pulp (the nervous and vascular soft tissue structures within the hard tissue of the teeth) and the tissue surrounding the tooth roots. The root canal is actually an anatomic structure – the system of tiny spaces and ramifications – that contains or contained the soft tissues within the tooth. The procedure of performing a “root canal” (endodontic treatment) involves treating this area within the tooth/teeth.

If the pulp tissue is alive, the endodontic procedure generally involves removal of as much of the soft tissue within the root canal system as possible, followed by filling the root canal system with an inert material. If the pulp tissue is no longer alive, and the root canal system is infected by the bacteria that live within the oral cavity, endodontic treatment is aimed at eliminating as many of these bacteria within the root canal system as possible before filling the root canal system with an inert material.

Will my root canal be done in one visit?

Because endodontic treatment is delicate and time-consuming, patients may need to be treated in more than one appointment. In addition, for some cases, endodontic treatment may have a higher success rate if it is performed in more than one appointment, with appropriate medications left within the root canal system in between appointments.

What needs to be done after the root canal?

After your endodontic treatment is completed, you will need to return to your general dentist for a permanent restoration. This will mean at least removing and replacing the temporary restoration placed at the time the endodontic treatment is completed with a permanent restoration, and will often involve the placement of a full coverage crown (also known as a “cap”) over the tooth.

Will my root canal treatment last forever?

The oral cavity is a hostile environment. There are over 1200 different species of bacteria currently known to live within the oral cavity. Everyone has bacteria within their mouths. Dental treatment does not last forever. Just as fillings and crowns/caps need to be changed over time, some root canals need to be re-disinfected in order to treat the oral bacteria that may have re-contaminated them. There are no guarantees for dental treatment, but regular care with your general dentist, as well as follow-up appointments with the endodontist can help to maintain your dental work for as long as possible.

What are your payment policies?

We do not accept insurance assignment of benefits nor do we direct bill insurance. We will help you complete your insurance forms and are happy to submit electronically online (where possible) to insurance companies to aid in reimbursement to you. Patients not covered solely by First Canadian Health are responsible for payment at the time of their treatment. For treatment that requires more than one appointment, a deposit of approximately half of the treatment fee will be required at the first appointment, with the remainder of the fee due at the time of treatment completion. Submission to your insurance carrier for your reimbursement can only be made after completion of the treatment.

The treatment codes used in our office are set by the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan based on the specialists’ fee guide. Many insurance carriers will not accept the specialist codes for treatment and may deny a patient coverage for treatment in our office, when they were approved for treatment by a general dentist. We will do our best to aid your discussions with your insurance carrier; however, we have no control over a patient’s insurance coverage, nor can we change the codes to suit one’s insurance coverage, as this is considered fraudulent.

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