F. Charles Wightman, D.D.S.
Darren S. Brummel, D.D.S.
Patrick H. Pagana, D.M.D.
Elisa A. Marantz, D.M.D.
Alisa H. Wain, D.D.S.
Reena M. Varghese, D.M.D.
Joseph Luzzo, D.M.D.
When you get a cavity or chip your tooth, not only does it affect the outside of your tooth, but if left unchecked or undetected, it can affect the pulp of your tooth – the blood vessels which help build and restore your teeth from the inside. The pulp of your tooth can become infected as a result of trauma, decay, cracking, chipping, and repeated dental procedures. Symptoms include a visible injury or swelling of the gum and tissue around your tooth, temperature sensitivity, or pain.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, don’t worry. The affected tissue can be treated non-surgically to eliminate the affected pulp with the procedure known as a root canal.
A root canal is a very common dental procedure that can save your tooth and prevent a need to replace the tooth with an implant or bridge. This is done by removing the affected pulp and thoroughly cleaning and sealing the root system of your tooth.
Your tooth and gums will be numbed with local anesthesia for this procedure, and it typically only requires one or two visits, depending on the extent of the treatment required. There is a 90% success rate, and if endodontic treatment is unlikely to be successful, we will let you know during your consultation, or if complication arises during treatment.
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With the appropriate care, teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as natural teeth. However, on occasion, a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. If so, endodontic retreatment may be necessary.
Improper healing may be a result of:
- Complicated canals undetected during initial procedure
- Narrow or curved canals initially left untreated
- Crown/restoration not placed within the acceptable length of time following the procedure.
Endodontic retreatment may also be necessary if new problems arise for a successfully treated tooth:
- New decay – which can expose the root canal filling material and cause new infection
- A damaged or loose filling or crown exposing the tooth to new infection.
If retreatment is required, your dentist will re-open your tooth in order to access the affected material and remove it. The canal will be cleaned thoroughly and carefully inspected. After the tooth is cleaned it will be re-filled and sealed.
An endodontist is a dentist who has specialized in treating and handling dental problems that involve the nerve tissue and blood vessels located inside the tooth. If the tooth pulp, containing nerves, vessels, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue, becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
After completing four years of dental school, endodontists complete an extra two or more years of specialty postgraduate training through a hospital or university-based program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Diagnosis and treatment of dental pain
Routine and complex root canals
Treatment of traumatic dental injuries
Treatment of cracked teeth
Vital pulp therapies
Endodontists use state-of-the-art technology, such as digital imaging, operating microscopes, ultrasonic instrumentation, and fiber optics while performing endodontic treatment. Technology, along with specialized techniques, gives endodontists an accurate view of the tooth and allows them to treat the tooth quickly and comfortably.
By choosing to receive treatment from an endodontist, you are choosing to keep your natural teeth as a healthy foundation for years to come.