Anxiety-free Root Canals

DR. FARID BRIAN SHAIKH Interviewed By Rasa Fournier
Endodontist at The Dental Day Spa of Hawaii-The Specialty Group

Where did you receive your schooling and training?

I attended dental school at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and did my advanced education in general dentistry at the Kokua Kalihi Valley Medical Center/Lutheran Medical Center here in Hawaii. I did my endodon-tic residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia.

In addition, I participated in a medical and dental missionary trip in Central Mexico. Currently I am on the endodontic faculty for the Dental Residency Program at Kokua Kalihi Valley Medical Center, and I am a practicing endodon-tist at the Dental Day Spa of Hawaii The Specialty Group, as well as at Hawaii Endodontics and Kauai Endodontics.

How long have you been practicing?

I graduated in 2008, and have been practicing more than four years.

Do you have a philosophy, motto or goal that drives your work in dentistry?

I strongly believe that your life is defined by the difference you make in the lives of others. Being an endodontist allows me to help people on a daily basis by relieving them from unbearable dental pain and bringing them back to a healthy, pain-free state. This in turn affects the overall health of a person.

Dr. Farid Shaikh attends to a patient with the help of massage therapist Keiko Katoku (far left) and dental assistant Kim Souza

Photos courtesy of The Dental Day Spa
Dr. Farid Shaikh attends to a patient with the help of massage therapist Keiko Katoku (far left) and dental assistant Kim Souza

Do root canals have to be as treacherous as we’ve come to believe that they are?

Root canals through the years have somehow become the “bad guy” of dentistry. The truth is root canals are definitely not as treacherous as they are made out to be, and can be pain-free. Dental pain caused by a dental pulp infection can be quite excruciating and is often debilitating. Unfortunately, many people incorrectly associate this pain caused by the infection with the procedure that helps it. The root canal procedure is required to stop the pain and remove the infection causing the problem.

At the Dental Day Spa of Hawaii’s The Specialty Group we’re taking a proactive approach to making our patients’ root canal appointments relaxing and comfortable! We feature massage with a licensed therapist, personalized music, movie glasses and other spa amenities to help ensure a great experience in the dental office. We strive to change the patient’s perception of a root canal.

What are some myths surrounding root canals?

The two biggest myths would have to be:

Myth 1: Root canals are painful. In fact they can be pain-free and allow for almost immediate relief from pain.

Myth 2: The roots of the tooth are removed during the procedure. What the root canal procedure actually does is remove the infected nerve tissue from within the tooth. The roots of the tooth are then sealed to reduce the risk of reinfection.

Are there ways to prevent a root canal?

There are many ways to prevent a root canal. Root canal therapy may become necessary when large cavities penetrate the outer protective layers of your teeth, which can eventually infect the pulp of your tooth. Anything that prevents cavities from forming or getting too big such as routine cleanings, brushing, flossing, fluoride rinses, and getting your cavities filled in the early stages all can help prevent the procedure.

Any latest technologies being used to treat them?

One of the most amazing innovations in endodontics is the operating microscope. This high-tech microscope has been revolutionary. Using this large microscope during a root canal procedure allows the practitioner to see 20 times what the human eye can see, and provide precise and sophisticated treatment. This state-of-the-art equipment allows endodontists to do the best job possible.

Anything you’d like to add?

My biggest priorities as an endodontist include:

Good communication: All my patients understand everything that needs to be done and why it needs to be done. Also, good follow-up to referring dentists so patients can feel they are well cared for.

Optimal procedures: The problem is diagnosed and the source of any pain or infection is thoroughly and effectively addressed.

Patient comfort: Through gentle procedures, massage and more, we want to create the best patient experience for our patients needing root canal procedures. At the Dental Day Spa of Hawaii, we are changing the reputation of the root canal, so it is not longer the bad guy of dentistry!