Root Canal Therapy
Endodontics is the field of dentistry where inflamed, damaged, and infected pulp tissue inside of the tooth is removed. Damage to pulp can be due to a large cavity, a crack, trauma, or repeated procedures to a tooth. We perform root canal therapy to save and preserve your natural dentition. Over 14 million root canals are completed a year and only 3% of dentists are endodontists. Endodontists are dentists who complete an additional two to three years of specialty training, where they focus their practice to root canals, retreatment of previously root canal treated teeth, and root canal microsurgery. Endodontists utilize a surgical operating microscope and three-dimensional radiographic imaging to visualize and treat complex anatomy and teeth. They provide an evidence-based approach to diagnosis and treatment.
What happens during a root canal?
During root canal therapy, we use local anesthesia (numbing) to anesthetize your tooth. An access is made through your tooth, the pulp is removed, the canals are cleaned and disinfected, and a root canal filling is placed inside of the canals. We place a temporary filling to close the tooth. An appointment is then coordinated with your general dentist, who will perform a permanent filling or crown as soon as possible.
Root canal therapy can fail due to complex anatomy, a missed canal during the initial treatment, bacterial contamination with saliva, a delayed filling or crown, or a crack in the filling or crown which can contaminate the root canal. Root canal retreatment is performed by making an access through the tooth or crown, removing the existing root canal therapy, locating, and cleaning the canals, and re-filling the root canal system. An appointment is then coordinated with your general dentist, who will perform a permanent filling or crown as soon as possible.
Apicoectomy or root end resection, is a surgical procedure performed when a root canal therapy alone is not sufficient for healing. Endodontists perform this procedure under high magnification with a surgical operating microscope, which allows for the direct visualization of difficult to locate canals, cracks, and infection. During this procedure, an incision is made in the gums so that the infected end of the tooth is visualized, and a small portion of the root is removed along with the infection. A root end biocompatible filling is placed inside the root, and the area can begin to heal.