Endodontics is a dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected, it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. If left untreated, an infection can become an abscess, a much more serious problem that includes bone loss in the jaw. We offer root canal treatment at Broadway Dental to help patients maintain their health and the comfort of their smiles.
Root Canals in Galveston, TX
To begin a root canal, the dentist numbs the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to open the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After removing the infection, the space is filled with a gutta-percha sealant. It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.
“Root canal” has become a scary term for dental patients to hear, but the benefits of the procedure and advances in dental technology we provide in our Galveston, TX office have made it much less “scary.” In most cases, local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with minimal pain. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures.
Over-the-counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve pain afterward, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection, allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard. If you are experiencing pain, consult your dentist today.
You should avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was performed so you do not irritate the area and ensure that the temporary restorative material properly sets. You will also need to take an antibiotic to treat any remaining infection in your tooth. Call your dentist immediately if you notice increased pain or tenderness, a reaction to the medication, or the loss of the temporary restoration (filling).
Apicoectomy (Endodontic Surgery)
An apicoectomy is performed after an unsuccessful root canal. When an infection will not go away or returns after a root canal has been performed, this procedure is usually necessary. Many nerves may contain the infected tissue, so it is difficult to ensure that all of the infection is removed during a root canal. During an apicoectomy, the tip of the tooth’s root is removed and replaced with a filling.
A second root canal is usually considered before an apicoectomy since it is a simpler, less invasive procedure. Before the apicoectomy begins, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will start by making an incision in your gum to expose the root of your tooth. Any inflamed tissue will be removed to clean out the area.
The surgery occurs in a very small area, and only a few millimeters are removed from the root. For this reason, the doctor will use magnification and small precision instruments to perform the surgery. The precise nature of the surgery gives it a high rate of success. A filling is placed after the root is removed, and the gums are sutured. Depending on the type of sutures, you may have to return in a few days to have them removed, or dissolving sutures may be used instead. Over the course of the next few months, the bone will heal around the root.
An Endo Microscope allows a doctor to perform procedures more accurately because the treatment area is magnified. The microscope’s superior illumination and magnification have made the greatest impact on the visualization of the area, evaluation of surgical technique, and use of fewer X-rays. With the unique ultrasonic unit and tips, a separated instrument or silver point can be removed with less effort. Fourth canals are now routinely being located and completely debrided in virtually all molars, thus increasing the long-term success rate with root canal therapy.
Root Canal Retreatment
With proper care, most teeth with endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. Root canals performed by endodontists (root canal specialists) have a 95% success rate. In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment.
Why do I need retreatment?
As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:
- Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
- Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
- The crown placement or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
- The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated.
New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth. A loose, cracked, or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to a new infection. A tooth sustains a fracture. Retreatment is performed in two visits and involves the following:
At the initial visit, the endodontist will examine the tooth, take x-rays and discuss your treatment options. If you and your endodontist choose retreatment, the retreatment will be scheduled at that time for a future date. At the retreatment appointment, the endodontist will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. Complex restorative materials (crown, post, and core) must be disassembled and removed to permit access to the root canals.
After removing the canal filling, the endodontist can clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth using a microscope, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment. Then, after cleaning the canals, the endodontist will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth. Post space may also be prepared at this time. Once your endodontist completes retreatment, you must return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. If the canals are unusually narrow or blocked, your endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery.
Restore Your Tooth
Save your tooth from an extraction. Call Broadway Dental at 409-235-0789. You may also request a dental appointment with us online.