The above diagram illustrates this simple procedure. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent re-infection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months restoring full function.
Following the procedure, there may be some slight discomfort or tenderness while the incision heals. This is normal for any surgical procedure. To alleviate any discomfort, an appropriate pain medication will be recommended if needed.
With the appropriate care, teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. Yet, as occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure a tooth may not heal as expected. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, Endodontic Retreatment may be needed. Whenever possible, it is best to save your natural tooth. Retreated teeth can function well for years, even for a lifetime
Improper healing or a failing root canal may be caused by:
- Curved or narrow canals were not treated during the initial treatment.
- Complicated canals went undetected during the initial treatment.
- Broken or separated instruments.
- Perforations through the root into surrounding tissues and bone.
- The crown or restoration was not placed within the appropriate amount of time following the procedure.
- The crown or restoration did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
In some cases, new problems can influence a tooth that was successfully treated:
- New decay can expose a root canal filling material, causing infection.
- A cracked or loose filling or crown can expose the tooth to new infection.
- A tooth sustains a fracture.
Retreatment usually involves reopening your tooth to gain access to the prior root canal filling material. This restorative material will be removed to enable access to the root canal. The canals will be cleaned and carefully examined. Once cleaned, the doctor will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in the access opening. At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 15 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. By choosing endodontic treatment, you are choosing to keep your natural teeth as a healthy foundation for chewing and biting for years to come.
Root canal treatment is generally necessary when the pulp has been irreversibly damaged by bacteria associated with decay, very deep fillings, cracks, or trauma. In order to preserve a tooth in which this has occurred, it is necessary to remove the inflamed or infected pulp tissue. This procedure is known as ‘a root canal’ or ‘endodontic therapy.
At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to construct the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. If a final restoration is required you should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, please don’t hesitate to call us (714-799-2888).