Root canals can be performed on all the teeth. The endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist places a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
The endodontist makes a small opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
After the space is cleaned and shaped, the endodontist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored. After the final visit with your endodontist, you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
In apexification, the unhealthy pulp tissue is removed. The dentist will place medication into the root canal to create a hard tissue formation near the root tip. This hardened tissue creates a calcific barrier at the root end, allowing the root canal to be sealed.
The endodontist numbs the gums around the affected tooth, and then creates a small hole to gain access to the pulp. The infected pulp is removed from the root canal and the canals are cleaned. Medication is placed into the canal and the tooth is temporarily sealed. The medication is surgically replaced every two to four months, though this can vary among individuals.
After the root end has formed, treatment is finished, which means you can return to your regular dentist to have the tooth restored.
An apicoectomy may be needed when an infection develops or won’t go away after root canal treatment or retreatment. In an apicoectomy, the root tip, or apex, is removed along with the infected tissue. To complete the apicoectomy, the endodontist will clean and seal the end of the tooth’s canal.
This procedure, also called “open and medicate,” encourages the root to continue development as the pulp is healed. Soft tissue is covered with medication to encourage growth. The tip of the root (apex) will continue to close, in turn, the walls of the root canal will thicken. If the pulp heals, no additional treatment will be necessary. The more mature the root becomes, the better the chance to save the tooth.
A therapeutic pulpotomy, better known as a “baby root canal,” removes part of a tooth’s pulp, the center of the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. The part that is removed is inside the crown.
This procedure can be done in children’s baby teeth or in young permanent teeth. In primary teeth, the procedure is done to keep the primary tooth from being removed. Extracting a primary tooth before it is ready to fall out can alter the way permanent teeth come in.
If the pulp of a permanent tooth becomes injured or decayed soon after it emerges, the tooth may require root canal treatment. However, root canal treatment is not done until the tooth’s roots are finished growing. In this case, a pulpotomy can be done instead. Root canal treatment can be done after the roots finish developing.
Your First Visit!
The first consultation will be used to determine the best course of treatment using a clinical examination; this may include x-rays. We encourage you to take this time to get to know our highly trained dentist by asking questions and letting them know any of your concerns, which will also allow them to come up with the best treatment plan.
Endodontic treatment is the best way to save a natural tooth. The tooth is restored and can function just like any other tooth. Saving the natural tooth should always be the first choice when dental care is needed. If you have any questions regarding your appointment, please feel free to contact us at our Folsom endodontics office. The Folsom office also offers general dental services, oral surgery, and orthodontic services.
What is Endodontics?
Endodontic therapy, also known as root canal therapy, is a treatment of an infected or inflammed tooth. The treatment is carried out in the pulp or nerve of the tooth. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. After endodontic therapy the patient will no longer feel any pain in that tooth because the nerve tissue has been removed and the infection has been eradicated.
Though some people may not have symptoms, the most common signs to look for are pain; a tooth that is very sensitive to temperature changes, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as bone and gingival tissues. If you’re unsure, it’s best to be evaluated by your dentist.
Why see an Endodontist?
Endodontic treatment is the best way to save a natural tooth. The tooth is restored and can function just like any other tooth. Saving the natural tooth should always be the first choice when dental care is needed.
The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal (a channel inside the root) then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until it has restored by the dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see the dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings. For the first few days after treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow the endodontist’s instructions carefully. The tooth may continue to feel slightly different from the other teeth for some time after the endodontic treatment is completed. However, if there is severe pain or pressure pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure might be needed.
If you think you may have an Endodontic emergency see your dentist, or call our office for a consultation.