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Root Canals

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. Removal of the infected and dying nerve, cleaning shaping and sealing of the canal are all vital parts of the root canal procedure.

How is a root canal performed?

The injured pulp is removed and the canals are 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 about 95% of cases. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

Post Appointment Information

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a report of your treatment will be sent to your general dentist. Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and the previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm. Do not chew food on the affected side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration provided by your dentist. You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen. Discomfort may be alleviated by taking ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. Please do not hesitate to call the office if you have any concerns about your procedure and follow-up care.

Endodontic Retreatment

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:

  • Bacteria that could not be removed during the first treatment.
  • Curved or narrow canals that 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.
  • Fractures of the crown or root.

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 clean and disinfect 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 may 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.

What is Endodontic Surgery/Apicoectomy

A root canal is one of the ways we can address a tooth with an injured pulp to avoid extraction. 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 your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. 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 tissue is removed along the gum and is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period 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.