Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Expect for My Root Canal?

You can expect to receive almost immediate attention from one of our friendly staff. One of our office staff will be glad to assist you in filling out necessary paper work and will call to check on your insurance coverage if necessary. Our staff is trained to answer most of your questions about the treatment of root canals.

Dr. Birchfield is very attentive to his patients’ needs. He listens well and explains clearly. He will explain the entire procedure as it occurs. We pride ourselves on being the most informative, honest and caring dental office in Tampa.

What Do I need to bring with me to an appointment?

  • Notes and/or x-rays from your general dentist
  • Insurance information, as well as the birth date and (if it applies to your plan) the subscribed member’s social security number.
  • Lists of any medications you are currently taking.
  • Lists of any allergies you may have to antibiotics, anesthetics, pain medication, latex, or anything else related to your dental treatment.

Will I Need an X-Ray before my procedure?

Yes, all procedures, including evaluations, will require a pre-operative x-ray because Dr. Birchfield needs to be able to see the measurement of the root and the current state of the bone. We call these small single x-rays periapical x-rays. Our x-ray machine is equipped with a reduction filter, our periapical x-rays equal about five minutes in the sunshine. Since the x-ray is required, if you do not bring an x-ray, we will have to take a periapical x-ray before any evaluation or any treatment. Not all doctors will send an x-ray along, sometimes because they need to send them to your insurance company and sometimes their x-ray just does not show the proper angle for endodontic treatment.

How long will my procedure take to complete?

Our procedures are normally complete in one visit, minus the need to return for suture or bleach removal.
(Apicoectomy) root surgery usually takes about an hour and does require the placement of a stitch or two, requiring removal approximately seven days after the surgery is complete. That appointment takes just a few minutes and does not require anesthetic. Dr. Birchfield will evaluate your case and determine what the best root canal procedure will be for YOU. He is honest and treats every patient in the manner that best suits their individual needs. To Dr. Birchfield you are a unique person not a faceless number and he will never push for a return visit if it is not necessary.

What is a Root Canal Anyway?

The diagram below illustrates a typical root canal procedure. First, Dr. Birchfield will gain access to your root canal by drilling into the tooth. Next, he’ll file away the nerve tissue and clean the root canal. Lastly, he will fill the root canal area with a permanent and air-tight filling called “gutta percha” (a rubbery material made from the gutta percha tree). Upon completion of the root canal treatment, Dr. Birchfield will place a temporary filling on the surface of the tooth that will protect your tooth until you are able to see your general dentist for your permanent restoration. To protect your tooth in the long-term, your general dentist may recommend a crown.

What happens if I have issues after my procedure?

Dr. Birchfield doesn’t anticipate problems after your treatment, but is glad to see you with any concerns. Feel free to call our office and our staff will determine a time that works best for your schedule. Our goal is to make sure you are informed and to give you the most painless root canal procedure in the world (definitely in Tampa)