Endodontics covers the study (practice) of the basic and clinical sciences of normal dental pulp, the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the dental pulp along with associated periradicular conditions.
In clinical terms, endodontics involves either preserving part, or all of the dental pulp in health, or eliminating all of the pulp in irreparable disease. This includes teeth with irreversibly inflamed and infected pulpal tissue. Not only does endodontics involve treatment when a dental pulp is present, but also includes preserving teeth which have failed to respond to non-surgical endodontic treatment, or for teeth that have developed new lesions, e.g., when root canal re-treatment is required, or periradicular surgery.
Endodontic treatment is one of the most common procedures. If the dental pulp (containing nerves, arterioles, venules, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue) becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
Microscope Assisted Endodontics
At Dr. Jose J. Alvarez & Associates we have mastered the science of root canal treatment. The important thing to know about microscopic endodontics is that it enables us to obtain much higher definition and better lighting during treatment. This allows us to see significantly more detail than we would be able to without the high magnification. We can see internal cracks in a tooth. We can also see accessory canals and other areas that someone who isn’t using a microscope is unable to see or negotiate. This enhanced visibility enables us to greatly increase the success rate of every procedure we do.
Root canal treatment is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal treatment:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gum
- Sensitivity to hot and/or cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
- Swelling and/or tenderness
A root canal treatment is recommended for:
- Decay that has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- Infection or an abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments. While the tooth is numb; a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, most of the teeth that have root canal treatment should have a post build up and a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function. After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
Our office will give you care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
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