Feature - Root Canal: Q&A

Dr Johnathan Wee, Clinical Director at Advent Endodontics Inc., answers questions on the subject of endodontic, or root canal, dentistry… 

How important it is to have root canal treatment done by a fully qualified and experienced doctor?

Endodontic treatment (commonly known as root canal treatment) unfortunately has a negative connotation in dentistry. In the past, this perception was due to a lack of trained root canal dental specialists (endodontists), and also because many patients wait till their discomfort was unbearable before they actually sought treatment.

Endodontists are specially trained to not just technically manage the complex root canal infections that may be unique in every tooth, but are also experts in dental pain and anxiety management. Whilst a typical general dentist sees about two root canal cases a week, an endodontist manages about 25 cases a week. Endodontists are also able to provide the entire scope of endodontic treatment options to patients, and are flexible to alter their treatment methods and modalities to suit the typical anxious patient.

What myths are there concerning endodontics?

The most common myth perpetuated is that root canal treated teeth are worse off than extraction, either with or without teeth replacement. Even some dentists are erroneously advising their patients to extract their painful teeth, without explaining to them the option of root canal treatment and restoration. Your own teeth are always better than any currently known replacement (dental implants included). You retain a natural tactile sensation and the satisfaction of knowing you can still use your very own teeth. With regards to the alleviation of pain, modern root canal treatment in the hands of an endodontist is no more uncomfortable than having a simple dental filling done, and definitely less traumatic than having a tooth extracted.

Another common myth is that extraction followed by a dental implant has a “better prognosis or success rate” than root canal treated teeth with a crown. Many large scale and multi centre studies published in peer appraised journals have clearly shown that there are no differences in the success rates between dental implants and root canal treated teeth. If anything, the key difference was the significantly greater post-operative discomfort suffered by those who did dental implants, due to the surgical nature of the procedure.

Why should one seek Advent Endodontics Inc for dental care and treatment?

Advent Endodontics Inc is a dental specialist practice restricted to the provision of dental pain management and endodontic care. We are acutely aware of the anxious and frightful patient; that is why our entire focus is on the patient, not just the tooth. We believe not only in providing a treatment experience that leverages on the latest advances in endodontic techniques and materials, but also by doing so in the gentlest and most relaxing way possible.

Just as you would probably not go to your typical GP doctor but a cardiologist if you need a cardiac bypass, more and more people are starting to understand that technically and physically challenging procedures like root canal treatment may be best done by endodontists. Advent Endodontics advocates a close working relationship with your referral dentist(s) to ensure that your treatment plan is seamless and well thought out to match your specific needs.

What facilities does your clinic have that will ensure your patients be given the utmost care and treatment to save their teeth?

Advent Endodontics Inc is a modern dental practice equipped not only with high tech, cutting edge dental and endodontic equipment, but also enjoys the trappings of a cosy and comfortable ambience. Besides high-end operating microscopes, digital radiography and ergonomic dental chairs with massage functions, the décor, furniture and lighting in the practice are all designed to help our patients relax and feel at ease. We see many expatriate and local patients who have been complimentary of our setup that is American in design and technology concepts, and Asian in our hospitality and aftercare.

How do you stay abreast of advancement in endodontics and dental treatments in general?

As an adjunct lecturer in the NUS dental school, I enjoy sharing my clinical experience and knowledge with students and dental colleagues. Academically, this keeps me on my toes. As a member of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), I also enjoy going annually to AAE meeting, or that of the European Society of Endodontology (ESE). These two conferences represent the best endodontic minds in the world and participating in these meetings always energises me professionally and pushes me to be even better in my delivery of care to my patients.

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290 Orchard Road #11-10 Paragon

Tel: 6100 3636