Root Canal Treatment
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay, infection or inflammation. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. At the center of your tooth is pulp. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Typical symptoms of an inflamed nerve include sensitivity to hot, cold and chewing. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist may recommend non-surgical treatment from an endodontist to eliminate the diseased pulp. The injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in more than 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of your consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.
With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. However, in some cases, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal as expected due to re-infection or other complications. A retreatment is similar to an initial root canal but instead of removing the pulp tissue, our doctors will remove the old root canal filling material and reinstitute root canal therapy. This is usually a two visit procedure.
An apicoectomy, also called root end resection, is a surgical procedure intended to remove infection from the root tip and the surrounding tissue. It is necessary when an infection and inflammation continues after root canal therapy or endodontic retreatment. During this procedure, an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent re-infection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months, restoring full function. Following the procedure, there may be some discomfort or slight swelling while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended.
Cracked teeth display a variety of symptoms, including pain when chewing, possibly with release of biting pressure, or pain when your tooth is exposed to temperature extremes. In many cases, the pain may come and go, and your dentist may have difficulty locating which tooth is causing the discomfort. Chewing can cause movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. At the same time, when biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain. Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and the symptoms will worsen or become more constant. Cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue and root canal treatment may be indicated.
Digital X-Rays and Microscopic Technology
Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray and microscopic technology in our office. Digital X-rays along with Cone Beam Computed Tomography provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental images, and expose patients to 90% less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.
Our doctors treat a variety of problems that result from traumatic dental injuries, such as tooth avulsion and dislodged teeth. These types of injuries may require root canal treatment or the placement of a dental splint.
Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. If the tooth is pushed partially out of the socket, our doctors may re-position and stabilize your tooth with a splint. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment is necessary. However, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required. Root canal treatment is usually started within a few weeks of the injury and a medication, such as calcium hydroxide, will be placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be placed and the canal will be sealed.
If an injury causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of your mouth, it is important that you seek treatment immediately! It is important to keep the avulsed tooth moist. If possible, put it back into the socket. A tooth can be saved if it remains moist. You can even put the tooth in milk or a glass of water (add a pinch of salt). Our doctors may start root canal treatment based upon the stage of root development. The length of time the tooth was out of your mouth and the way the tooth was stored may influence the type of treatment you receive and how successful the outcome.