We are knowledgeable and proficient in all areas of Endodontics. An Endodontist is a specialized dentist that has specialized and specific training in diagnosing and treating problems associated with the inside of the tooth.
Commonly called a “Root Canal”, endodontic treatment is a common dental procedure that removes the soft damaged tissue (pulp) from the inside of the root canals of the tooth. Once the pulp has been removed, the canals within the tooth will be cleaned, shaped, filled and sealed. This Endodontic Therapy is recommended when the tooth has been damaged by physical trauma or more commonly, by decay
Consultation and ExamA complete and thorough exam, testing and x-rays will be performed to help determine the personalized course of treatment needed. It is important to be sure that root canal treatment is indicated before beginning therapy. If root canal therapy is needed, it is important to begin as soon as possible because the pulp has lost its ability to heal itself. If delayed, conditions such as increased infection of tooth and gum, severe toothache, or even tooth loss may occur.
While you may be bringing an x-ray with you to your appointment, we will be taking x-rays in our office as well. We need to be sure that the x-ray shows the specific parts of the tooth we are treating and be sure that there have been no changes to the infected area since the original x-ray was taken. It is best to diagnose a tooth based on how it presents at your appointment not how it was days ago.
Our office utilizes digital x-ray technology. This digital radiography produces radiation levels of up to 90 percent lower than conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent electronically when needed. Digital radiography can be displayed instantly and decreases the amount of treatment time you spent waiting for the development of conventional x-rays.
Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal Therapy)
Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other trauma can severely damage the pulp. When that happens the pulp has lost the ability to heal itself and treatment should begin to prevent further infection and inflammation. A local anesthetic is given and a rubber dam will be placed. The opening is made in the biting surface or crown of the tooth, the soft tissue (pulp) within the tooth is comfortably removed using special instruments. The canals are then cleaned, shaped and filled with a material that seals the tooth. The hole in the crown is filled with a temporary filling and you will be advised to return to your regular dentist for further restoration. This procedure may be completed in one visit, however, two visits may be required based on the condition of your tooth.
Retreatment of a Root Canal
Most teeth that have been endodontically treated can last as long as other natural teeth. Occasionally a tooth that has been treated may require additional treatment. The cause for retreatment can be unique to each case.
There are instances when a root canal is not sufficient to heal the tooth and surgery will be recommended. Endodontic surgery can locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still cause tooth pain. Damaged root surfaces and or the surrounding bone may be treated as necessary. The most common endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy or root-end resection. This is when a fractured root or root end is removed taking the infected tissue from the very end of the root. A small incision in the gum will be made and dissolvable sutures will be placed. We typically see patients a few days after surgery to remove any remaining stitches and evaluate the healing process.
Despite its stigma, root canal therapy itself should not be painful. The pain that most people remember is that pain that brought them to our office for help. Having root canal therapy should be a relatively painless procedure, very similar to having a restoration treatment at your regular dentist. Our office will provide you with specific instructions that are relevant to your procedure. For a few days after the procedure, you can expect some soreness, possible pressure and tenderness when biting. Should any excessive discomfort occur, call our office as soon as possible.
In most cases, a temporary filling has been placed in your tooth at the completion of your root canal treatment. A follow up with your regular dentist is necessary to help prevent fracture and decay by the placement of a permanent filling or the placement of a crown.
Our office will send you a postcard inviting you back for periodic examinations to assure complete healing occurs.
“I had a really bad infection. This team was the very best. I am so grateful to this team. I was not just a source of money to this team. This Dr. and team are the best, greatest. I cannot say enough about the care they take with you.”
Glenda Hayes from a patient survey