A "root canal" is a procedure used to save an inflamed or infected tooth by removing the dental pulp (nerve) after the tooth is dead or has had the pulp exposed due to cavities or fractures. After the pulp is removed and any infection has been resolved, the hollow area left behind after the nerve is removed is filled in with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Before the days of root canals, most damaged teeth needed to be extracted.
What Is Endodontic Therapy?
Endodontic (root canal) therapy is a highly specialized type of dental care developed to save teeth by the removal of infected and/or damaged "nerve" tissue from the inside of the tooth. This tissue, called pulp, contains nerves and blood vessels that help nourish the tooth. Infected pulp can lead to an abscess at the end of you roots. An examination including necessary x-rays and other tests determines if the pulp is infected. If root canal treatment is necessary, the pulp is removed and the root canal is cleaned, sterilized, and sealed with a filling material to prevent further infection. The entire procedure takes one to two visits and is accomplished with little or no discomfort through the use of local anesthetics.
Why Single Visit Endodontic Therapy?
Research indicates that there is a reduction of post-operative flare-ups when endodontic treatment is accomplished in a single visit. The multiple visit approach of past endodontic concepts and procedures is unnecessary, inconvenient and uncomfortable for the patient. We strive to complete all routine, non-emergency cases in one visit.
What Are The Alternatives To Endodontic Treatment?
There really are none. If a diseased pulp is not removed, the infection will spread and the tooth must be extracted. When a tooth is extracted without a replacement, you can have many related biologic side effects such as: disruption of bite, your speech may be affected, and loss of support can lead to premature aging of your facial contour. A false tooth replacement can injure adjacent teeth, is weaker, and more difficult to keep clean than your natural teeth. In addition, a replacement bridge costs more than endodontic treatment and restoration.
Do I Have To Return To My General Dentist?
When your root canal therapy is completed, you must return to your own dentist who will provide the permanent restoration for your tooth. This should be done as soon as possible after completion of our treatment. Your dentist can best decide what type of permanent restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.
Can All Teeth Be Treated?
There are some teeth which cannot be treated endodontically, for any of several reasons. If your tooth is of this type, we can usually inform you before any treatment is started. In addition, there are times when a minor surgical procedure called an apicoectomy may be indicated to help save your tooth. This will depend on the nature of the problems existing prior to treatment or if the tissues do not heal normally after root canal therapy has been completed. Should this become necessary in your case, we will explain the situation to you beforehand.