Endodontics is a specialty designed to retain a tooth which may otherwise require extraction. Inside of a tooth is soft tissue that can become injured or contaminated. To save the tooth, root canal therapy must be performed. During the procedure, two things are done: your Endodontist cleans the infection out of the pulp chamber and canals of the tooth, and carefully shapes the insides of the canals. Next, medication is placed inside the tooth and the root canals are completely filled. Treatment involves one, two or more visits depending on the case. You may also be given antibiotics if infection is present and has spread beyond the end of the roots.
After earning a Doctor's Degree in Dentistry, two additional years of continued education are required to specialize in Endodontics. So if your general dentist recommends an extraction, it may be a good idea to seek a second opinion from an endodontist to see if your tooth can be saved.
Why Save the Tooth?
Even in this day and age, nothing works as well as your natural tooth!
Keeping your natural teeth should be your number one priority. Replacements such as fixed bridges and implants are good alternatives if the tooth cannot be saved with endodontic treatment. Take the time to explore your options.
Root canal therapy can help save your smile!
1.) The success of root canal therapy is influenced by many factors. Your general health, adequate gum attachment and bone support, shape and condition of the roots and nerve canals, quality of previous dental care, and pre-existing root fractures, all affect individual healing.
2.) Teeth treated with root canal therapy can still decay, but because the nerve is gone, there will be no pain. Good oral hygiene and periodic check-ups are necessary for maintaining dental health.
3.) The treated tooth may remain sensitive following appointments. If sensiticity persists and does not seem to be getting netter, please phone the office for an appointment. Usually, administration of an appropriate medication qill quickly resolve the problem. It is normal for a treated tooth to be sensitive for one week after the final appointment and to feel different than the surroung=ding teeth for 3 to 6 months.
4.) In some teeth, regular root canal therapy alone may not be sufficient. If the canals are severely curved or calcified, if there is substantial infection in the bone around the roots, or if an instrument breaks and remains within a canal, the tooth may remain sensitive and an endodontic surgery procedure may be necessary to resolve the problem.
5.) Root fracture is one of the main reasons why root canal therapy fails. Unfortunately, some cracks that extend from teh crown down into the roots are invisible and unetectable. They can occur on uncrowned teeth from traumatic injury, biting on hard objects, habitual clenching or grinding, and even just normal wear and tear. Whether the fracture occurs before or after the rooth canal, the tooth will probably still require extraction.
6.) Teeth treated with root canal therapy may be more brittle than other teeth. After the root canal treatment, to prevent damage that might mean losing the tooth, crowning (capping) is the best treatment. However, the tooth could possibly be filled with either silver or tooth-colored filling. On rare occasions, the tooth can fracture in spite of being crowned.
7.) There are alternatives to root canal therapy. They include extraction; extraction followed by a bridge, partial denture, implant, or no treatment at all.
Post Treatment Instructions
1.) Before the anesthesia wears off, take the prescription you received as soon as possible, with food, when you get home.
2.) The tooth and the adjacent supporting tissues will be tender for several days after treatment. This mild discomfort will be relieved by ASPIRIN, TYLENOL, ADVIL or the like. Take 2-3 tablets every six hours.
3.) Occasionally, moderate to severe discomfort may occur. If medicationhas been prescribed, use it according to the directions.
4.) The area will be numb for 2-4 hours, be careful not to injure the tongue, cheek or lips.
5.) Some swelling is possible. Call the office if more than a slight puffiness occurs, since antibiotic therapy may be needed.
6.) To protect the tooth against fracture during or after treatment, avoid chewing on the tooth until the final restoration has been placed by your General Densist.
7.) Good oral hygiene.
8.) A dissolution of the symptoms could be expected within 7-10 days. It is not unusual for the treated tooth to take 3-6 months to feel completely comfortable.