Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)
As a specialty practice in endodontics, our primary goal is to save your natural teeth whenever possible. Endodontics is a branch of dentistry tasked with the prevention and treatment of infected teeth. When root canal therapy is performed the pulp canals of the tooth are cleaned out and then filled with suitable filling material. The word “endo” comes from the Greek language and means “inside” or within. Endodontists are dentists that manage the “inside” or core of the tooth.
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Root canals are most often necessary when decay, cracks or trauma have caused the pulp of the tooth to become severely inflamed or infected. Most teeth typically have one to four canals, though the number of canals and anatomy of a tooth can vary..
Occasionally a tooth root canaled months or years earlier fails to heal completely, continues to experience pain or becomes re-infected. In most of these situations redoing the root canal treatment disinfects, calms down and saves the troubled tooth.
In some cases it may be necessary to remove infected root tips and the nearby inflamed tissue. This is known as a root-end surgery, apical surgery or apicoectomy. The area immediately around the apex or tip of the tooth is cleaned, the infected tip of the root is removed and the remaining root is sealed. Sutures are typically used to assist gum tissue healing. Recommendations following the surgery include ice pack application, necessary medications for soreness, avoiding strenuous physical activity and a soft-food diet.
Dental implants replace missing tooth roots. They provide a strong foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth. Implants are small anchors made of titanium, a biocompatible metal, which is placed in the jawbone. Dental implants will fuse with the bone over the span of a few months. After the fusing process, known as osseointegration, is completed, your general dentist will then replace missing teeth using the stability of the implant(s).
Symptoms of a cracked tooth are varied and may include pain when chewing, temperature sensitivity, pressure sensitivity or a combination of these. Because the pain often comes and goes, it can be very difficult to recognize which tooth and what exactly is behind the pain.
Cracks are really seen on standard x rays. A cracked tooth results in irritation and eventual damage to the tooth’s pulp. Cracks can sometimes lead to infections in the pulp tissue necessitating root canal therapy and coverage by a crown. Advanced three-dimensional imaging can sometimes help diagnose cracked teeth.
In some situations when one root of a multi-rooted tooth is too compromised to fix, we will remove it in order to save the remaining healthy part of the tooth.
Sometimes the thickness of jawbone or position of tooth will not allow successful apical surgery. In some of these cases, the tooth can be removed, the root surgery can occur out of the mouth and then the tooth can be quickly reinserted back into the socket.
When a tooth can not be saved with endodontic and or restorative materials it may need to be removed. Before removing your tooth, the area will be numbed with anesthesia. The tooth is then loosened using a special dental instrument known as an elevator. After it is loosened from the socket, it is gently removed by a forcep, a dental instrument commonly used in dental extractions. Stitches may be necessary after the removal of a tooth.
Bone grafting is the replacement or enhancement of bone around teeth. When a tooth is lost, the surrounding bone collapses a little as it heals. At the time of extraction cadaver bone is placed in the extraction site and covered to inhibit bone loss as the site heals. Bone grafting promotes proper support for future dental implants.
Many different outcomes can occur to a tooth having had a traumatic event. For each outcome a specific treatment is applied. Fractures, cracks, displacements, or an avulsion–when a tooth gets knocked out, usually require timely treatment specific to the untoward outcome. Traumatized teeth need expert and timely attention.
Cone Beam technology provides a digital tomographic 3D view of a section of jaw with its associated teeth. The inherent limitation of traditional x-rays is that they provide a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional object. With Cone Beam tomography we obtain a full 360 degree view of the tooth and all surrounding areas. The 3D Cone Beam scanner provides nearly limitless views of the teeth while using much less radiation than traditional medical CT technology and comparable radiation to a full set of traditional dental x-rays. This new technology is fast, simple and painless, providing additional diagnostic help that was unavailable only a few years ago.
For those suffering from severe dental anxiety we offer nitrous gas or an anti-anxiety medication.