If you have a toothache, it is important not to disregard it. Your pain is an indication that there may be a problem with your tooth's pulp. As the tooth's sensory center, the pulp may need to be extracted if it becomes infected. It is crucial to understand that dental problems will not heal on their own. Therefore, it is important to visit a professional dental facility like South Coast Dentistry. Our team will not only extract the infected pulp but also thoroughly clean the inside of the tooth, helping to enhance your beautiful smile.

Understanding Endodontic Services

In the field of dentistry, endodontic services specialize in the treatment of tissues surrounding the pulp and root of your tooth. This branch of dentistry focuses on identifying, managing, and preventing diseases and injuries to these tissues. The root canal procedure is one of the most commonly performed endodontic treatments.

The part of your tooth that contains blood vessels, lymph, and nerves is called the pulp. Occasionally, the pulp may become infected or injured, rendering it unable to heal itself. As a result, the pulp dies, and endodontic therapy becomes necessary.

You will notice symptoms like these to determine if your pulp is injured or diseased:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages.
  • Discomfort experienced while biting or chewing.
  • Loosening of the teeth.
  • Swelling of the gum around the damaged tooth.
  • Facial edema.
  • There are pus-filled pockets all around the injured tooth.
  • Pain without cause or reason.

When to Schedule an Endodontist Appointment

Treating tooth pain and temperature sensitivity promptly is crucial. Not only does it have the potential to save the tooth, but it will also provide you with much-needed relief. Additionally, you can return to work the same day after the procedure. On the other hand, you must make an appointment with a specialist right away if:

  • You may be experiencing facial, gum, or dental swelling.
  • You got involved in a serious accident.

Postponing treatment for the tooth could make matters more difficult and decrease the likelihood of saving the tooth.

Different Kinds of Endodontic Procedures and Treatments

You can’t take your car to a garage to get it fixed if you don't know what's wrong and how to fix it. Similarly, when it comes to something as important as your teeth, which you use every day for eating, it's essential to be informed about the different treatment options available. Nowadays, there are numerous options for dental repairs. It is crucial to carefully consider these options and understand how they may impact your dental health and overall quality of life.

Any trustworthy endodontist will respond to your inquiries and guide you toward resources that can provide more information about dental treatments. The following are the common endodontic procedures:

Root Canal

A severely decayed or infected tooth can be saved and repaired through a root canal procedure. This involves cleaning the inside of the tooth, removing the pulp and nerves, and sealing it.

When your tooth pulp is damaged, it starts to degrade, allowing bacteria to grow inside. This can lead to an infection or an abscessed tooth, which is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the tooth root. If the infection spreads beyond the roots, it becomes even more serious. Dealing with this process typically involves multiple appointments with an endodontist.

  • Step One

The first step in determining the shape of the root canal is taking an X-ray. This will also help identify any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. To ensure your comfort, the dental specialist will numb the surrounding area using local anesthesia. Although your nerve is already dead and it is not necessary, your endodontist will still use an anesthetic to help you feel comfortable and relaxed.

  • Step Two

The dentist will begin by placing a rubber dam around your tooth to ensure the affected area remains dry and saliva-free. Then, a hole will be drilled into the tooth to remove the pulp, decaying nerve tissue, debris, and bacteria. The process is facilitated by using root canal files.

These files are inserted into the opening to clean every side of your root canals, being pushed down the entire length of the tooth. Periodically, water or sodium hypochlorite is used to effectively eliminate any debris.

  • Step Three

After your tooth has been cleaned, it will be sealed. The endodontist may choose to wait a week, especially if there is an infection, before sealing it. To remove the infection, your dentist will administer medication to your tooth. Your endodontist may also decide to seal your tooth on the same day that it is cleaned.

If your root canal cannot be completed on the same day, a temporary filling is placed in the exterior hole of your tooth. This filling serves to keep food particles and saliva out of the canal until your next visit. During the second appointment, a filling is placed on the outer surface of the access hole, and a gutta-percha is inserted into the root canal to fill it.

  • Step Four

The focus of this step is the restoration of your tooth. A tooth that requires a root canal often has a large filling, extensive decay, or weakened structure. Therefore, a post and crown should be placed to provide support and protection. The restoration not only restores the tooth's functionality but also prevents it from breaking. Additionally, the procedure is designed to be discreet, so it will not be obvious that you had the surgery. The treatment has shown a positive response in over 95% of patients.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are surgical procedures that involve replacing damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth. This procedure not only restores the appearance of a real tooth but also provides full functionality. This procedure involves the use of metal posts, resembling screws, which are inserted into the jaw bone. The specific approach to the surgery depends on the condition of the jaw bone and the type of implant being used. The process typically involves multiple steps.

The implant provides strong support for the new tooth. However, for the bone to grow tightly around the implant, the process of bone healing is necessary. This means that it takes several months for the bone to heal fully.

A dental implant could be a good option for you if you:

  • Your jaw has grown to its full potential.
  • Have a missing tooth.
  • Possessing dental tissues that are in good health.
  • Not smoking.
  • Wish to improve your speech.
  • You don’t suffer from any illnesses that could hinder your healing process.
  • There is enough bone available for implant placement.

Before getting a dental implant, you may require bone grafting if your jawbone is too thin or soft. This is because the pressure from chewing can be significant on the bone. Moreover, the success of the implant depends on its ability to be supported by the bone.

There are various materials available for bone grafting, including natural bone grafts from another part of the body or synthetic alternatives. It is important to discuss with your dentist to determine the best option for your specific needs.

Putting in a Dental Implant

The specialist will make incisions to place the implant, and you may see your bone through these incisions. After that, a hole is bored into the bone at the site of the implant post. The post is then implanted into your bone to serve as the root.

Growth of Bones

Osseointegration is the process in which the surface of the implant and your jawbone fuse after the post is inserted into the bone. This procedure creates a stable foundation for your dental implant.

Placing Abutment

After osseointegration, you will need to undergo an abutment procedure. The endodontist will reopen the gums to expose the implant, attach the abutment, and then seal the surrounding tissue to secure your abutment in place. It should take approximately two weeks for the gums to heal after the abutment is placed before your artificial tooth can be attached.

Choosing the Artificial Tooth

The next step involves making impressions of your teeth, which will be used to create the crown. Crowns come in two types: fixed and removable. A removable crown resembles a denture, with pink plastic gums and artificial white teeth. It is securely fastened in place on a metal frame attached to the abutment. Removable crowns can be easily removed for maintenance or cleaning purposes.

In contrast, a fixed dental crown is an artificial tooth that is permanently screwed or cemented into your abutment. Unlike removable options, such as dentures, fixed crowns cannot be taken out for cleaning or before going to bed.

After the Dental Implant Procedure

Common post-procedural discomforts include pain at the surgical site, bruising on the skin and gums, swelling in the face and gums, and minor bleeding. To manage these discomforts, it may be necessary to take painkillers or antibiotics. If the pain or swelling worsens, it is important to contact your endodontist for further guidance and assistance.

While the implant site heals, it is advisable to consume soft foods. Typically, dental specialists use sutures that dissolve on their own. If the stitches do not dissolve, the medical professional should remove them.

Endodontic Retreatment

Have you ever had a root canal in the hopes that the pain would eventually go away, only to find that the same tooth continued to cause trouble later on? In this case, the nerves did not heal as expected. Your ongoing discomfort may be an indication that you require endodontic retreatment.

According to the American Association of Endodontics, the following conditions may necessitate endodontic retreatment:

  • The tooth has a crack or fracture.
  • Deterioration, a broken crown or filling, or both, expose the tooth to bacteria and result in the infection.
  • Restricted or abnormally shaped root canals that were not initially identified and treated.
  • Salivary contamination of the tooth persisted even after the restoration.

What Happens During the Process of Endodontic Retreatment?

During your initial consultation, your endodontist will discuss the treatment options available to you. If retreatment is chosen, the dentist will extract the tooth to access the root canal filling material. This means that the restorative material will be removed.

The next step involves using light and magnification to examine the inside of the tooth and clean the canal. In addition, the expert will meticulously search for any unusual anatomy or additional canals that require attention.

The canals will then be sealed and filled. If your canals are unusually narrow or blocked, the endodontist may recommend endodontic surgery. In the end, a dental restoration, like a crown, will be necessary. It will protect the tooth and restore its normal function.

Endodontic Surgery

If the initial root canal treatment is unsuccessful or not feasible, endodontic surgery serves as an alternative to root retreatment. For example, if your tooth has narrow or inaccessible canals, the endodontist may need to perform surgery to access the entire tooth root.

In addition to addressing issues that arise from a failed root canal, endodontic surgery can be utilized in various other circumstances, such as:

  • To identify enduring symptoms that don’t manifest on imaging examinations.
  • Hardened root canals can prevent proper cleaning of the tooth.
  • When the surrounding bone tissue or the root surface needs to be treated.

Apicoectomy

One type of endodontic surgery is called an apicoectomy, which involves removing the apex of the root. This procedure is often recommended when an infection occurs at the tip of the root, making root canal therapy challenging.

Local anesthetic is applied during the procedure to ensure comfort. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the endodontist makes a small incision in the gum near the affected tooth to expose the infected tissues. Subsequently, the impacted tissues are carefully removed, and in some cases, the tip of the root may also be addressed.

To seal the tooth, a small filling may be required at the root apex. Following that, your endodontist will stitch the wound to facilitate healing. Over a few months, the bone will heal, securing the filling and the root in place. During the healing process, it is normal to experience some pain and swelling. However, by the next day, you should be able to resume your regular activities.

However, it is important to follow the guidelines provided by your dentist. These regulations are designed to prevent complications from the procedure and emphasize the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene practices and a healthy diet. If you continue to experience pain in your tooth even after following the post-surgery instructions, it is recommended that you see your endodontist promptly.

Here are some typical side effects of an apicoectomy:

  • Pain and edema.
  • Bruises surrounding the area of the surgery.
  • Damage to the blood vessels.
  • Infection at the surgical site.
  • Inadequate healing is particularly common in patients who smoke or have poor oral hygiene.

Your endodontist can also replant your tooth to treat you. This procedure involves removing the tooth from its socket and then placing it back in.

Three percent of initial root canal procedures fail, especially when the underlying cause of the issue is not adequately addressed. To address this issue, your endodontist may recommend an apicoectomy or other surgical procedures. In cases where reaching the tooth apex is challenging, intentional replantation is the optimal solution.

The damaged tooth must be extracted carefully as part of the process. After that, the endodontist will carry out the required treatments, such as retrofilling outside of the mouth and apicoectomy. The success rate of intentional replanting depends on the speed and gentleness of the extraction process.

To maximize the success of replantation, the treatment of the tooth outside of the mouth must take less than ten minutes. In the event of root canal failure in the lower jaw molars, your endodontist may recommend a procedure called hemisection, also known as root sectioning or root amputation.

The diseased root and its attached crown are removed during a hemisection. Your tooth is preserved because the procedure doesn't affect the remaining portion of the tooth.

Hemisection procedures are best suited for teeth, which include the following:

  • A single tooth has multiple roots, and only one is impacted.
  • Good dental hygiene is affected because the affected root is too close to the roots of the nearby teeth.
  • The tooth fracture is limited to one root and is vertically oriented.
  • In a multi-unit dental bridge, where the cost and ethics of a hemisection are more favorable than replacing the entire bridge, only one root of the tooth is affected.

The following factors may have an impact on how a hemisection proceeds:

  • Anatomically challenging roots, such as curved roots, make it impossible to section one root without causing damage to the surrounding teeth.
  • Roots with inaccessible or calcified canals.

Retreatment and a failed root canal are often the initial steps toward a hemisection. This process involves utilizing radiographic analysis to accurately identify the location of the sectioned root while considering the position of the retained roots. In certain circumstances, you may choose to have a tooth extracted and replace it with a prosthesis, such as a bridge or dental implant.

Find an Experienced Endodontist Near Me

If your dentist has determined that your tooth is not healing and you are experiencing severe pain in that area for no apparent reason, it might be time to consider endodontic treatment. This procedure will not only preserve your natural tooth but also allow you to resume your regular activities without any pain. At South Coast Dentistry, we specialize in the swift completion of endodontic procedures. We offer comprehensive dental services across Aliso Viejo, CA. If you have any questions about our practice or the endodontic procedures mentioned above, don't hesitate to reach out to us at 949-274-9086. We are here to assist you.