Root Canal Therapy
- Over the 26 years of private practice we have treated and saved several thousand teeth with root canal, or endodontic treatment. Learn how root canal treatment can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.
- To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue (fleshy center) called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
- Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, tooth trauma, or cracks n the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
How does Root Canal Treatment save the tooth?
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The completion of the saving the tooth will include returning to your general dentist in about a month to restore your tooth with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
- Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern root canal treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
- Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.
- With proper care, teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime. But sometimes, a tooth that has had root canal work, doesn’t heal properly and can become painful or diseased months or even years after treatment. If your tooth failed to heal or develops new problems, you have a second chance. An additional procedure called root canal retreatment frequently is the first course of action in saving a previously endodontically treated tooth.
- Endodontic retreatment, entails reopening the tooth and remove the existing root canal filling materials that were placed in the canals during the first procedure. Then carefully examines the tooth, looking for additional canals or new infection. Then removing any infection, cleaning and shaping the canals, and places new root canal filling material. The opening is then sealed with a temporary filling. Once the tooth heals, you will return to your general dentist to restore tooth again.
- Occasionally, nonsurgical root canal procedures alone cannot save your tooth and your tooth may require endodontic surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate hidden canals that weren’t detected on x-rays or during previous treatment. Surgery may also be needed to remove calcium deposits or foreign bodies lodged in root canals, or to treat damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone of the tooth. Endodontic surgery may be needed to remove set in bone infection & regenerate the lost bone caused by that infection.
- There are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth. The most common is called an apicoectomy, or root-end resection, which is occasionally needed when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure. In this microsurgical procedure, we open the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the end of the root canal and few stitches or sutures are placed to help the tissue heal. Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root. Local anesthetics make the procedure comfortable, and most patients return to their normal activities the next day. Post-surgical discomfort is generally mild.
Nitrous Oxide/ Oral Sedation/ IV Sedation
- Management of dental anxiety is one our greatest missions. We will do all we can to make your experience at our office a pleasant one. In assisting us with anxiety management we offer several options. Most commonly used method is Nitrous Oxide “laughing gas” to help calm the lightest anxieties (the nice thing with nitrous oxide is that it is eliminated from your body minutes following its discontinuance).
- Oral Sedation—We offer in office oral conscious sedation, a relatively inexpensive and safe method of sedation.
- IV Sedation— We offer IV sedation in our office for those patients who have significant dental anxiety. We subcontract an Dental Anesthesiologist to do the sedation and monitoring. An evaluation is required prior to scheduling your IV appointment to review your medical history and determine a treatment plan.
Bleaching – Occasionally after a root canal is completed on an anterior or front tooth, it can become discolored or gray. By placing bleaching crystals inside the tooth, the color will lighten and match the surrounding teeth. We need several visits, each a week apart, to monitor the color changes. This is painless and does not need anesthetic.
Additional work – No dental or medical procedure is an exact science, in fact, we can’t ever guarantee that something will work. However, saving your natural tooth is one of our main goals and we’ll use our expertise and experience to determine the best course of action. However, occasionally we’ll find that a stubborn tooth won’t react the way most other teeth will, and we’ll need to go back and re-evaluate the best course of action. Thus, there’s always a chance that you’ll need additional work on your tooth, but most cases are routine, and generally the sooner we find out about a problem, the better off we all are.