Endodontic Procedures

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. Endodontic patients should expect a comprehensive examination to diagnose orofacial pain and pulpal injury and determine if the tooth is a good candidate for endodontic therapy.

Non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.

Under certain circumstances, microsurgery may be indicated. We are experts in performing this procedure, and utilize sophisticated equipment to ensure the best result.

Non Surgical Root Canal

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend root canal 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. Success for this type of treatment occurs in more than 90% of cases. If your tooth is not a candidate for 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.

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.

Endodontic Retreatment

Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic or “root canal” treatment fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Sometimes a tooth responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later.

When this happens, the tooth often can be saved with endodontic retreatment.

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 doctors 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 doctors will now clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the doctors will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.

At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.

Endodontic Microsurgery

Non-surgical endodontic treatment is successful in a vast majority of cases. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist 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.

Endodontic microsurgery is a surgical procedure utilizing a sophisticated operating microscope and special microsurgical instruments. The increased magnification and illumination greatly improves diagnostic capabilities and the precision of surgical procedures. Long term prognosis is enhanced and post-surgical trauma is reduced. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.

The above diagram illustrates this simple 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 reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function. This procedure is done under high magnification using the surgical microscope. It allows the Doctor to see detail not visable with the naked eye.

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. If you have pain that does not respond to medication, please call our office.

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