Seeing a general dentist for regular checkups and cleanings is important. However, there are times when patients can benefit from seeing a specialist who focuses intensely on a specific aspect of dentistry. For treatments relating to the interior of teeth, it’s hard to beat working with a team that has years of experience and training in the field of endodontics.
Generally, a root canal is sufficient treatment to save teeth with injured pulp. Occasionally, though, a non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to resolve the infection and your endodontist will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery may also be necessary to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on x-rays but still manifest painfully in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone structure may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
An apicoectomy is a simple procedure where an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the tooth root. A small filling is placed at the end of the root to seal it and prevent reinfection of the root, and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals and fills in around the root over a period of months restoring full function.
A dentist with endodontic training can perform specialized treatments to save the tooth and prevent extraction. These are the most common causes of inner tooth damage:
To perform your root canal treatment, your doctor begins by making a tiny opening in the crown of your tooth. They then use small specialized instruments to remove the infected pulp and clean the space within your tooth. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, your doctor uses a rubber-like material to fill the inside of your tooth and seal the access opening.
Root canals are typically performed under local anesthesia, which reduces any pain or discomfort you may feel during the procedure. For most patients, modern root canal treatment is well tolerated and can be compared to getting a filling. After your root canal, you may experience some sensitivity. Over-the-counter pain medications are a good option for relieving discomfort as you recover.
After the root canal procedure, you and your dentist discuss restoring the treated tooth. In most cases, teeth that have undergone root canal treatment are topped with a dental crown. Dental crowns help preserve the structure of your tooth and can also improve its appearance.
At Downtown, we’re your tooth and dental pulp specialists! We are not general dentists. Instead, we focus on specialized treatments, including all things related to endodontics. That way you get the very best care around. Have questions? Give us a call.
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