How Can Endodontic Treatment Repair My Damaged Tooth?
Endodontics is a surgical procedure which involves the pulp or the root of the tooth that needs repair or otherwise known as root canal procedure. When the teeth are severely damaged, the nerves or pulp needs to be removed. The tooth can be retrained
for longer periods with the help of endodontics and reconstructive procedures. Once the inside or pulp of the tooth is removed and filled, the tooth can be retained for many years by reconstructing the tooth with a post and crown.
Below are some variations of root canal procedure:
- Pulpotomy - Extraction of infected portion of the pulp to preserve the surrounding healthy tissues.
- Apicoectomy - This process is also known as a root-end resection. There are instances where a root canal alone will not be enough to relieve pain. Hence, the end of the tooth, called the apex, will be removed by entering through the gingiva and surgically
extracting the diseased material.
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Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but endodontists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases. Generally, extracting the inner tooth structures, then sealing the resulting gap with a crown restores health
and functionality to damaged teeth.
Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:
- Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
- Tenderness when chewing and biting.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.
Reasons for endodontic treatment
Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.
Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:
Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection
jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.
Fractures and chips
When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful
Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area. Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the endodontist
has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.
If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies)
or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the endodontist will then perform root canal therapy
to save the tooth.
What does an endodontic procedure invlove?
Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete X-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins.
Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during the treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will
be completely removed using small handheld instruments.
The space will then be shaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed off. Usually, a
temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.
If you have questions or concerns about endodontic procedures, please contact Dr. Steven F. Stanley today!