Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 15 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is the pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Inflammation or infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms can be identified as swelling of the gums, sensitivity to temperature, pain when chewing, or spontaneous throbbing.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. We are able to offer additional sedation if indicated. Survival for this type of treatment occurs in about 95% 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 consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine
With the appropriate care, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. Yet, a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, Endodontic Retreatment may be needed.
Improper healing may be caused by:
- Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.
- Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.
- The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
- The crown or restoration did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
In some cases, new problems can influence a tooth that was successfully treated:
- New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
- A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection.
Once retreatment has been selected as a solution to your problem, the doctor will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal. The doctor will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the doctor will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. We are able to offer additional sedation if indicated.
At this point, you will need to return to your family dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.
Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and the doctor will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged/diseased tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the incision is sutured. Sutures will generally be removed one week after the procedure. 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.
Internal bleaching is a technique that is used to whiten the appearance of teeth from the inside of a tooth. Internal bleaching is conducted under the direction of a dentist. The process for internal bleaching involves the insertion of a bleaching agent inside the crown portion of the tooth. A root canal is necessary for internal bleaching. The agent is left in the tooth for up to two weeks, and then replaced with more bleaching agents until the tooth achieves the level of whiteness desired. Once the series of treatments are complete, the hole is filled, ensuring that foreign matter will not be able to invade the tooth. It is a conservative way of improving the esthetics of your front teeth without crowns or veneers.