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Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves, and arterioles.  Endodontists receive additional dental training after completing dental school to enable them to perform both complex and simple procedures, including root canal therapy.

Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but endodontists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases. Generally, extracting the inner tooth structures, then sealing the resulting gap with a crown restores health and functionality to damaged teeth.

Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:

  • Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
  • Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods.
  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.

Reasons for endodontic treatment

Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.

Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:

Bacterial infections – Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.

Fractures and chips – When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful and problematic.

Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area.  Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the endodontist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.

Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the endodontist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.

What does an endodontic procedure invlove?

Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete X-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins.

Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during the treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will be completely removed using small handheld instruments.

The space will then be shaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta-percha.  Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed off. Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.

If you have questions or concerns about endodontic procedures, please contact our office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Post-procedure pain and discomfort are normal and usually last a few days. Mild pain and discomfort can be eased with over-the-counter pain medications. However, severe and prolonged pain and discomfort should be administered medically.

The cost of a root canal depends on various factors like the tooth location, dental complexities, severity of the infection, dentist’s expertise and experience, clinic’s location, restorative material used, dental insurance coverage, and others. However, the cost of root canals in Bonham, TX ranges between $700 to $2500.

Tooth removal is the option if you need a root canal but cannot afford it. However, dentists will recommend saving natural teeth for various reasons. Thus, you might want to discuss financing options to save your natural teeth and undergo a root canal.

A root canal is a significant procedure. Hence, it requires you to have a reliable dentist by your side to perform it safely, effectively, and sustainably. Here are some factors to consider while selecting a root canal dentist.

  • Dentist’s experience and expertise in root canal treatment
  • Past patient reviews and feedback
  • Success rate
  • Credentials and licenses
  • Dentistry infrastructure
  • Root canal cost and insurance coverage at the clinic
  • Overall patient care and administrative convenience

The root canal refers to the natural cavity within the tooth’s center. It also is a treatment that helps treat a damaged or infected pulp (the soft tissue in the root canal). On the other hand, endodontic treatment is a wider term entailing various procedures of the teeth’s internal structures, including root canals.

It depends on the tooth’s condition. Dentists can perform the entire procedure in a single sitting or two to three sessions. Each sitting lasts between 30 and 90 minutes.

The tooth remains numb for up to four hours after the procedure. However, the patient can resume routine activities like return to non strenuous work on the same day after the treatment.

Pain and discomfort after a root canal procedure are normal. The pain usually lasts three to four days after the procedure.

Some generic don’ts after a root canal procedure, include the following.

  • Eating hard and crunchy foods
  • Consuming alcohol and Smoking
  • Eating on the treated side
  • Delaying follow-up appointments
  • Ignoring complications and living with them

Recovery after a root canal is quick. Of course, patients might experience some pain and discomfort after the treatment. However, as long as they follow aftercare instructions, they can start feeling normal within a couple of days.

Some conditions when you cannot do a root canal include the following.

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Tooth resorption
  • Restricted blood supply
  • Severely cracked tooth
  • Overall health condition doesn’t permit root canal

Yes. You can get a root canal treatment without a crown. However, it isn’t usually recommended. It is because a root canal involves removing the infected pulp from the tooth’s interiors and filling the void with dental material. The tooth becomes brittle and susceptible to fractures after a root canal. Here, a dental crown provides strength and protection to the treated tooth. Without that, the tooth may become more vulnerable. Besides, the absence of a crown may also compromise its structural integrity.

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