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The Top Dentists of Greater New Orleans

(page 2 of 12)

Dr. Barry James Cazaubon

Operating on those who taught you

•13 years practicing as an endodontic specialist
•B.S. from LSU School of Allied Health
•B.A. and M.B.A. from University of New Orleans
•D.D.S. from LSU Dental School in 1996
•Native of New Orleans

Doctoring the doctor who taught you can be daunting for new practitioners. Dr. Barry Cazaubon, a dentist with a specialty in root canal treatment, found himself in exactly that situation early in his career.

More than one of his instructors from the Louisiana State University Dental School came to Cazaubon when they needed root canals. He describes the experience as “challenging.”

“It was a little anxiety-producing for me,” he says. He found the best approach was to treat his professors with the same methods he used to treat any other patients.
“Once I realized that, (the treatment) went a lot smoother,” Cazaubon says. In fact, the profs wound up becoming patients of his.

Cazaubon’s specialty is one that usually produces a lot of anxiety in patients. Root canals, while nowhere near as painful as they were years ago, are still no walk in the park, and the more anxious a patient is, the more likely he or she is to experience pain.

“Pain is a tricky thing,” Cazaubon explains. People have widely differing pain thresholds, and even within an individual, identical treatments can cause larger or smaller degrees of pain, depending on the individual’s anxiety level at the time.

A big part of his job, Cazaubon says, is making root canals as pain-free as possible, and reducing a patient’s nervousness prior to the procedure.

Of course, the ideal solution would be to avoid root canals altogether. “Some people are blessed genetically,” Cazaubon says, because they inherit the type of teeth that resist cracking. Chewing ice and grinding one’s teeth because of stress are habits that can lead to cracks. Trauma to a tooth also can result in cracking. When damage to the tooth’s pulp results, root canal therapy can become necessary.

If infection is present, that can cause more pain, and it can take a while to clear up the infection with antibiotics. But usually, Cazaubon can treat the tooth, clear up the pain and send the patient back to his regular dentist for long-term care. He likes the specialty of endodontics because it resembles emergency room medicine: doctors treat patients in acute situations and bring relief fairly quickly.

The positive side of a root canal is the fact that it reduces the need to extract a tooth. “It’s always better to save a tooth when possible,” Cazaubon says. Rarely, though, it’s in the patient’s best interest to remove the tooth.

Cazaubon became interested in dentistry when a friend of his went to dental school. He earned undergraduate degrees from LSU School of Allied Health (in the field of medical technology) and the University of New Orleans (in biology), as well as a master’s of business administration. After graduating from the LSU Dental School, he did a three-year residency in the specialty of endodontics. At his practice in Metairie, he aims to make root canal therapy a welcome source of relief, rather than an anxiety-filled dental procedure. That makes both him, and his patients, happy.

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