Our endodontists are board certified and specialize 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, our endodontists take an extra two or more years of specialty postgraduate training through a hospital or university-based program accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).
With the lengthy education that our endodontists receive, they are able to perform all aspects of endodontic therapy, including:
- Diagnosis and treatment of dental pain
- Root canals
- Retreatment of a root canal
- Endodontic surgery
- Treatment of traumatic dental injuries
- Treatment of cracked teeth
- Internal bleaching
- 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 empowers 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.
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What is Root Canal Therapy?
A root canal can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for bridges and dental implants. At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that helps to build the surrounding tooth.
Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, decay, or chips and cracks. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, and sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.
How is a Root Canal Therapy Performed?
If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed, and the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.
The therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits, depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases.
Retreatment of a Root Canal
A tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal, or pain may continue to exist. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, endodontic retreatment may be needed.
Here are several reasons why endodontic retreatment may be necessary:
- New decay can expose a root canal filling material, and cause infection.
- A cracked or loose restoration can expose the tooth to new infection.
- The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the root canal therapy.
- The crown or restoration did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
- Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.
- Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.
During retreatment, your endodontist will reopen the tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal.
The endodontist will clean your canals and carefully examine the inside of the problematic tooth. Once cleaned, the doctor will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the tooth.
Our endodontists provide quality root canal therapies with the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area, Beaumont and Corpus Christi, TX. Call 832-804-7427 to schedule an appointment with our endodontists.
You will need to return to your general dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore complete functionality.
Cracked teeth show many types of symptoms, including pain when chewing, temperature sensitivities, and even the release of biting pressure. It is also common for pain to come and go, which makes it difficult to diagnose the cause of discomfort.
Chewing may cause minor movement of the cracked pieces of your tooth, and the pulp within the tooth becomes irritated. When biting pressure is released, the crack can close quickly, resulting in sharp pain.
Eventually, the pulp will become damaged and your tooth will steadily hurt, even when you are not chewing. It is possible that cracks can lead to infection of the pulp tissue, which can spread to the bone and gum that surround the problematic tooth.
Fractured Cusp Tooth
When a cusp becomes weakened, a fracture may result. The cusp may break off or be removed by a dentist. A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so a root canal is not necessary. Your dentist will usually restore the tooth with a crown.
This type of crack extends from the chewing surface of the tooth and migrates vertically toward the root. In some cases, the crack may extend below the gum line. It is possible for the crack to extend further into the root. Damage to the pulp is common.
In this case, root canal treatment is usually necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth. Therefore, early detection is important.
A split tooth is usually the result of an untreated cracked tooth. It can be identified by a crack with distinct segments. This type of tooth can never be saved intact. Yet the position and extent of the problem will dictate whether any portion of the tooth can be saved. Sometimes, endodontic retreatment by the endodontist and a restoration by your general dentist can be provided to save a portion of the tooth.
Vertical Root Fracture
A vertical root fracture begins at the root and extends toward the chewing surface of the tooth. Unfortunately, it may show minimal symptoms and go unnoticed. Treatment involves endodontic surgery if a portion of the tooth can be saved by removal of the fractured root.
Why Would I need Endodontic Surgery?
In most cases, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and your endodontist will recommend surgery.
Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on X-rays but still manifest pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated with this procedure. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.
What is an Apicoectomy
An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with a small amount of the root tip.
A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone heals naturally around the root over a period of months to restore full function.
Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. Your endodontist or general dentist may reposition and stabilize your tooth.
Root canal treatment is usually begun within a few weeks of the injury. A medication will be placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be placed.
Sometimes a tooth may be pushed partially out of its socket. Your endodontist may reposition and stabilize the tooth. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment is necessary. However, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required.
When an injury causes a tooth to be completely knocked out of your mouth, it is critical that you get treated immediately! If this should happen to you, keep the tooth moist. If possible, put it back into the socket.
A tooth can be saved if it remains moist. You can even put the tooth in milk or a glass of water (add a pinch of salt).
Your endodontist may start root canal treatment based upon the stage of root development. The length of time the tooth was out of your mouth and the way it was stored in the mean time may influence the type of treatment you receive.
Injuries in Children
Injured immature teeth may need one of the following procedures to improve the chances of saving the tooth.
This encourages the root to continue development as the pulp is healed. Soft tissue is covered with medication to spur growth. The tip of the root (apex) will continue to close as the child gets older. 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.
The unhealthy pulp is removed. The endodontist places medication into the root to help a hard tissue form near the root tip. This hardened tissue provides a barrier for the root canal filling. At this point, the root canal walls will not continue to develop, which makes the tooth susceptible to fractures, so it is worthwhile to have the tooth properly restored by a dentist.
Call 832-804-7427 to schedule an appointment within the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area, Beaumont and Corpus Christi.