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 dentist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.
Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important 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 dentist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.
What does an endodontic procedure involve?
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 now 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 ask your dentist.
Prosthodontics is the specialized field of dentistry concerned with diagnosing, planning and executing restorative and cosmetic treatments. Dentists who choose to specialize in prosthodontics must complete three or four more years of dedicated training following dental school.
A prosthodontist is in essence an architect, who formulates a comprehensive treatment plan and informs the patient as to what is possible. Missing or defective teeth can be extremely detrimental to self-esteem and self-confidence. Using the latest technology, a prosthodontist is able to fill these gaps with functional, natural-looking teeth that boost confidence and enhance the smile.
There are many reasons why a prosthodontist may be consulted, including (but not limited to):
- Creation of partial or full sets of dentures.
- Desire to whiten the teeth or improve the aesthetics of the smile.
- Filling gaps created by one or more missing teeth.
- Interest in dental implants.
There are an ever-increasing number of hi-tech prosthodontic treatments available including the following:
Dental Implants –Implants are designed to replace the natural teeth in the best possible way. Titanium roots are implanted in the jawbone in the same way as natural tooth roots. Implants look and feel the same as natural teeth.
Dental Veneers – Veneers are porcelain/ceramic covers that are bonded to the natural teeth. Veneers can instantly solve problems like uneven teeth, stained teeth, and chips and damage caused by general wear and tear.
Dental Crowns – Prosthetic crowns are generally made from porcelain, metal or a combination of the two. They have been designed to mimic the natural crown (surface of the tooth) and can last for up to a decade, and possibly longer.
Dental Bridges – Conventional and cantilever bridges are used to support a prosthetic tooth. The natural teeth can support the bridge if they are in good condition, or dental implants may be used as anchors.
Complete Dentures – A complete set of dentures can be created for people who have no teeth due to gum disease or trauma. Complete dentures restore functionality to the mouth and make chewing and speaking easier.
Partial Dentures – Where many teeth have been lost, removable or fixed partial dentures can prove to be an excellent option. They enhance the aesthetics of the smile in addition to improving chewing abilities.
Our dentists perform tooth extractions when necessary (i.e. a non-restorable tooth, an impacted tooth, in preparation for orthodontics/braces). We make every effort to help ensure your comfort during and after the procedure through appropriate use of anesthetics and pain medications. Teeth may need to be removed because they are blocked from coming in, the tooth is severely damaged/decayed or the tooth is impacted/partially erupted. Teeth can be removed simply or surgically. Dentists perform a simple extraction when they can see the tooth and it is removed after applying a pain reducing medication. A surgical extraction is performed when the tooth is broken down or not exposed. After applying a pain reducing medication an incision is made into the gum or the tooth is divided. The tooth is then removed in sections or intact.
If you have questions or concerns about Oral surgery procedures, please ask your dentist.