Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy

In past years, if a tooth had a diseased nerve, the patient would have lost that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal therapy, the tooth can often be saved. 

Inside each tooth is a nerve, which provides nutrients and feeling to the tooth. It runs like a thread down through the root of the tooth. When the nerve is diseased or injured, the tissue around the nerve dies. Sometimes the deterioration of the nerve happens so gradually that little pain is felt.  Other times it can be extremely painful.  If the dead tissue is not removed, the tooth may get infected and need to be pulled.

Causes

  • Trauma – such as a physical blow to a tooth or constant striking of a tooth in the opposite jaw
  • Physical irritation – caused by deep decay or a very large filling
  • Severe gum disease

Treatment

  • At Advanced Dental Specialists, root canal therapy can be performed by an endodontics specialist or general dentist. An endodontist typically requires an additional two to three years of training following dental school.
  • The dentist/endodontist will remove the diseased or otherwise damaged root pulp and replace it with inert dental fillers. 
  • The visible portion of the tooth can then be restored with a crown, or occasionally just a small filling. It is very important to have this final filling or crown done shortly after the root canal treatment has been completed.
  • Root canal treatments can generally be accomplished in one or two appointments, and our caring staff is committed to making sure you are as comfortable as possible before, during and after the procedure. A timely root canal can usually save a tooth that can otherwise be lost entirely.

Prevention and Early Detection

The best way to prevent tooth loss is to maintain the good health of your teeth and treat any problems as they arise. Regular dental checkups and immediate treatment of cavities may prevent damage to the tooth pulp. In some cases, a cavity may progress rapidly and can spread to the pulp before the problem is detected. Signs and symptoms of pulp in distress include: prolonged hot or cold sensitivity, spontaneous dull ache or pressure discomfort when chewing.  If you are experiencing this type of distress, it is important to seek out dental care as soon as possible. 

What is Endodontics?

This specialty deals with diseases of the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth. Treatment performed by Endodontists may be called "root canals". Endodontics, from the Greek endo (inside) and odons (tooth), is a specialist sub-field of dentistry that deals with the tooth pulp and the tissues surrounding the root of a tooth. The pulp (containing nerves, arterioles and venules as well as lymphatic tissue and fibrous tissue) can become diseased or injured, and is often unable to repair itself; if it dies, endodontic treatment is required.  Oral Conscious Sedation is available at our Mayfair location.

What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists who have specialized in this field; qualification as an endodontist typically requires an additional 2-3 years of training following dental school. Many endodontic residents do original research and earn a Master's degree as well as a specialty certificate. They specialize and limit their practice to root canal therapy and root canal surgery, and use their special training and experience in treating difficult cases, such as teeth with narrow or blocked canals, or unusual anatomy. Endodontists may use advanced technology, such as operating microscopes, ultrasonics and digital imaging, to perform these special services, and often have great experience in successfully treating patients who present in pain. Patients requiring root canal therapy are either referred by their general dentists to the endodontist or are self referred; the most common procedure done in endodontics is root-canal therapy.

Other procedures practiced in endodontics include incision for drainage, internal tooth bleaching to fix teeth that have blackened because of infiltration of decayed soft tissue into the dentin in the teeth - most often seen in incisors that have been injured through a sudden impact, and periradicular surgery (apicoectomy); the more radical treatments generally are needed in cases of abscesses, root fractures, and problematic tooth anatomy, but may be indicated in treating teeth that have persistent root end pathosis following root canal treatment..