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Root Canal Treatment

To understand treatment options for your diseased tooth, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp.
The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Endodontic treatment (also known as a root canal) treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth.
In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

How Does Endodontic Treatment Save the Tooth?
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called "gutta-percha". Following endodontic treatment, the tooth will need to be restored with a crown or filling for protection. After the restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern root canal treatment is very similar to have a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.
Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or stain
Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limit the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.
What Is Endodontic Re-treatment?
As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial endodontic treatment for a variety of reasons. These could include complicated canal anatomy that was undetected in the first root canal procedure, the delay in placement of a crown or other restoration, or an insufficient restoration. Sometimes new problems may jeopardize a tooth that was already treated, such as new decay, a loose, cracked or broken filling, or a tooth fracture. Often, when this happens, revision of the previous treatment may be performed to save the tooth.
During endodontic re-treatment, we will regain access to the root canal filling material. After removing the canal filling, we can clean or "re-clean" the canals and carefully examine the inside of the tooth. At this time, we also search for any hidden canals or unusual anatomy that requires re-treatment.
After cleaning the canals, we will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. As with the original root canal, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect it.
If re-treatment is not an option, endodontic surgery should be considered to save the natural tooth.
What is Surgical Endodontic Treatment?
Endodontic surgery is a procedure which is occasionally needed when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure. The most common is called an apicoectomy, or root-end resection. In this microsurgical procedure, the gum tissue near the tooth is opened to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the end of the root canal and a few stitched or sutures are placed to help the tissue heal. Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root. Local anesthetics make the procedure comfortable, and most patients return to their normal activities the next day. Post surgical discomfort is generally mild.
There are usually no restrictions concerning driving or returning to work after treatment, as long as there is no strenuous activity.
Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is any question, please call our office prior to your appointment. If re-treatment is not an option, endodontic surgery should be considered to save the natural tooth.
Please eat a full breakfast or lunch as applicable.
If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic premedication because of mitral valve prolapse (MVP), heart murmur, hip, knee, cardiac or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your procedure. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.
Please do not take any aspirin containing products during the 7 days prior to your surgery. Minimize the amount of Ibuprofen containing products as much as possible during the 7 days prior to your surgery.

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