Your teeth are a bit more complex than what they seem from the outside. The enamel is just one layer. Below the enamel is a layer called dentin. Below this layer is a hollow area that contains soft tissue. This tissue is known as pulp. Issues such as damage, dental trauma, multiple dental procedures, and cavities can irritate the pulp, leading to inflammation and infection. When this happens, our doctors can provide you with the endodontic treatment you need.
A root canal is necessary when the pulp inside of your tooth is inflamed or infected. Untreated, these issues can lead to what is known as an abscess, which can be potentially very dangerous for your overall health. The goal of the root canal is to save the tooth rather than extract it.
With a root canal, we remove the inflamed or infected pulp, shape the inside of the tooth, and completely clean it out. This is all done through a small hole that is drilled into the top of the tooth. Once the tooth interior is cleaned, it is filled. A temporary filling is placed in the access hole until a permanent restoration, typically a crown can be placed. Root canals are effective in most cases and help to prevent the need for further treatment or extractions.
Root Canal Retreatment
While root canals are typically successful, there are some instances in which they can fail. A tooth may not have been completely cleaned, or you may have suffered new dental trauma that compromised the tooth or your crown. No matter what the reason, if you notice anything wrong with your treated tooth, it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
With a root canal retreatment, we remove the existing restoration as well as the filling from inside of the tooth. This enables us to clean the tooth then again, making sure that all bacteria are eliminated. This may require the use of a temporary medicated filling. Once the retreatment is complete, the inside of the tooth is filled, and a new restoration is placed. Like regular root canals, retreatment is a very effective procedure that can help to save the tooth and restore your oral health.
In some cases, endodontic surgery may be necessary. This type of treatment is also called an apicoectomy. Instead of treating the tooth from the top of the crown, it is treated from the root end. To access the root, we first need to make a small incision in your gums and clear away any infected tissue surrounding it. After the infected tissue is removed, we also remove the very tip of the tooth root and place a small filling to seal the canal. Finally, the incision is closed with a few small sutures. Endodontic surgery is typically performed when inflammation and infections persist near the root end of a tooth, even after a root canal, or root canal retreatment, has been performed. Like root canals, the goal of endodontic surgery is to preserve the affected tooth.
For more information on endodontic treatment, and to schedule your appointment, call us today.