Have you been told that you need root canal treatment?
If so, you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment.
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 tissues surrounding it.
Modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having 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.
With proper care, even teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime. But sometimes, a tooth that has been treated doesn’t heal properly and can become painful or diseased months or even years after treatment. If your tooth failed to heal or develops new problems, you have a second chance. An additional procedure may be able to support healing and save your tooth. If you have pain or discomfort in a previously treated tooth, talk to an endodontist about retreatment.
Occasionally, a nonsurgical root canal procedure alone cannot save your tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate small fractures or hidden canals that weren’t detected on x-rays or during previous treatment. Surgery may also be needed to remove calcium deposits in root canals, or to treat damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone of the tooth. Endodontists use advanced technologies like digital imaging and operating microscopes to perform surgeries quickly, comfortably and successfully.
What is an Apicoectomy?
In this procedure, the endodontist opens the gum tissue near the tooth to examine 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 at the root tip to seal the end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures are placed in the gingiva to help the tissue heal properly.
Traumatic dental injuries often occur in accidents or sports-related injuries. Chipped teeth account for the majority of all dental injuries. Dislodged or knocked-out teeth are examples of less frequent, but more severe injuries. Treatment depends on the type, location and severity of each injury. Any dental injury, even if apparently mild, requires examination by a dentist or an endodontist immediately. Sometimes, neighboring teeth suffer an additional, unnoticed injury that will only be detected by a thorough dental exam. Endodontists are dentists who specialize in treating traumatic dental injuries. With their advanced skills, techniques and technologies they can often save injured teeth.
Chipped & Fractured Teeth
There are different factors that would determine treatment for your chipped or fractured tooth. Most chipped or fractured teeth can be replaced by reattaching the broken piece or by placing a tooth-colored filling in the chipped area. If a significant part of the tooth is broken off, and artificial cap may be needed for restoration. Root canal treatment or extraction may also be necessary under certain circumstances.
Root canal treatment is usually needed for permanent teeth that have been dislodged. Children may not require treatment since their teeth are still developing. However, it is important to see a dentist or endodontist so that he or she can determine what the best option is for you or your child.
If your tooth is completely knocked out of your mouth, see an endodontist or dentist immediately. The length of time the tooth was out of the mouth will determine the chances of saving the tooth. The tooth will be placed back in the socket, and a stabilizing splint with be placed for a few weeks.
Depending on the type of injury to your tooth, you may sustain a horizontal root fracture. In this case, the tooth may need to be stabilized with a splint for a required period of time.
Regenerative endodontics is one of the most exciting developments in dentistry today and endodontists are at the forefront of this cutting-edge research. Regenerative endodontics uses the concept of tissue engineering to restore the root canals to a healthy state, allowing for continued development of the root and surrounding tissue. Endodontists’ knowledge in the fields of pulp biology, dental trauma and tissue engineering can be applied to deliver biologically based regenerative endodontic treatment of necrotic immature permanent teeth resulting in continued root development, increased thickness in the dentinal walls and apical closure. These developments in regeneration of a functional pulp-dentin complex have a promising impact on efforts to retain the natural dentition, the ultimate goal of endodontic treatment.