A specialized form of dentistry, endodontics, also known as root canal therapy, deals with the complex structures within the teeth. Endodontics is a Greek word that actually means “inside the tooth” and involves the arterioles, pulp, nerves and tissues that are within the tooth. Additional dental training is required for endodontists following completion of dental school. Dr. Silverina Chua has this additional training and can perform simple and complex procedures, including root canal therapy.
In years past, a tooth that had a diseased nerve would require immediate removal, but at Silver Smile we have the experience and technology to save the tooth. Extracting the inner tooth structures then resealing the resulting gap with a crown helps restore damaged teeth to health and functionality.
Symptoms and signs of endodontic problems:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages
- Tooth discoloration
- Tenderness of the teeth when biting or chewing
- Inflammation and gum tenderness
Why Would You Need Endodontic Treatment?
Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is done to save your natural tooth. In spite of the advanced restoration services now available, the majority of dentists agree that healthy, natural teeth cannot be substituted.
There are several causes of inner tooth damage:
Fractures and Chips – If a large part of the tooth’s surface or the tooth’s crown has become detached completely, root canal therapy could be necessary. The crown portion is removed to leave the pulp exposed, which can be painful and problematic.
Bacterial Infections – The most common cause of endodontic problems is oral bacteria. These bacteria invade the pulp of the tooth through tiny fissures in the teeth resulting from injury or tooth decay. The inflammation that results, along with the bacterial infection, cause the tooth jeopardy and can result in an abscess.
Injuries – An indirect or direct blow to the mouth can result in a tooth injury. Some injuries can result in the tooth become dislodged from its socket. After the endodontist has stabilized the tooth, root canal therapy may be necessary.
Removals – If your tooth has been completely knocked from its socket, you need to rinse it and put it back in its socket as fast as you can. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in milk. These steps will help keep your tooth’s inside moist and alive while you seek emergency dental care. Using a special splint, the tooth will be put back in its socket. The endodontist will perform a root canal to save the tooth.
What is involved in an endodontic procedure?
In order to have a root canal, you will usually visit the endodontist anywhere from one to three times. A set of x-rays of the teeth will be taken and thoroughly examined before the treatment gets underway. Your endodontist will administer a local anesthetic then place a protective sheet (dental dam) to ensure saliva stays away from the surgical area during the procedure. There will be an opening made in the tooth’s surface, then using small handheld instruments the pulp will be removed completely.
At this point, the space will be cleaned, shaped, and then filled with gutta-percha, which is a biocompatible material much like rubber. On top of that, the endodontist will apply cement to ensure the root canal is completely sealed. A temporary filling will be placed to help your tooth regain functionality until the permanent restoration procedure is done. A restoration or crown will be placed during the last visit.
To learn more about endodontics, contact our office here at Silver Smile Dental. We are trained in the various aspects of endodontics and can help you get your smile back to its best possible appearance.