What is Endodontics?

 

Terrible tooth ache.

Endodontics is one of nine specialties recognized by the ADA. Whereas orthodontists do endless numbers of braces, endodontists do endless numbers of root canals. Official estimates have the average endodontist performing 17 root canals per week, as opposed to general dentists performing 2 or fewer.

 
That caseload generates a lot of experience. Furthermore, endodontists train for three years after dental school. They learn the intricacies of the inner tooth, and focus on pain management. Root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful. But improved training and practices over the last few decades have largely reduced that reputation to myth.

 
Thanks to our expert in endodontics in West Hollywood, your root canal procedure is relaxed and routine. Even root canal emergencies are handled with ease. It’s common for a root canal to become necessary after trauma, like a blow to the mouth. This can happen a lot to children or adolescents who sustain sports injuries or other accidents. If the tooth involved is a baby tooth, an endodontist would need to address the pulpal injury immediately in order for the tooth to be saved.

 
For more about endodontics, contact our cosmetic dentist in West Hollywood.

Three Questions to Ask Your Root Canal Doctor

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A root canal procedure is no longer a source of dread—at least, if you do your research. Knowing exactly what goes down while you’re in the chair—everything from the history of root canals to the instruments used—can act tremendously toward your peace of mind.

If you’re at a loss for good questions, try the following:
Is a root canal preferable to a simple extraction?
In some cases, you may want to keep your tooth. There are concerns—some of them legitimate—about the inability to fully sterilize the affected tooth. No matter how thorough your specialist is, it’s not always possible to eradicate every microbe from the interior of the tooth. If this is a sticking point for you, ask your root canal doctor in Los Angeles about the advantages of extraction.

What are the chances my root canal will fail?
The most recent data projects the odds of root canal success between 85 and 97 percent. When procedures fail, it’s often because they were performed by general dentists instead of endodontists. General dentists who lack endodontic training may misuse tools or fail to irrigate or seal properly.

What do you replace the inflamed tissue with?
A secondary material called gutta-percha—used in the making of canes in the 1800s—is placed inside the tooth. As stated above, it is not always possible to remove all bacteria from the root canal. The goal is to preserve the tooth, and to limit leaks and the possibility of retreatment.

What a Root Canal Does to a Tooth

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Root canal therapy is essentially a radical cleaning of a tooth’s interior. A slightly darker vision is that it prepares a dead tooth for viewing by embalming it. This is not necessarily true, although necrotic tissue can be one of the reasons root canal is needed.

When performing a root canal, the dentist aims to rid the tooth entirely of any contaminate that may cause further infection or injury. This seems like a straightforward process, but it isn’t always. The root canal of a tooth can branch into more and more intricate canals that are hard for a dentist to detect, let alone clean and seal. Because these subsidiaries of the main canal are so hard to reach, they make perfect habitats for breeding bacteria. This is how a tooth can explode into pain without warning, as infection spreads throughout the main canal toward the tooth roots themselves.

Our root canal dentist in West Hollywood aims to clean and seal your infected tooth so you can avoid an extraction. They remove all the infected pulp, and replace it with a benign material called gutta-percha. This enables the tooth to stay in the mouth even after the loss of so much living tissue.

For more about root canals, contact our West Hollywood dentist.

Dental Care Tips after Root Canal

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Advances in the industry have standardized root canal well past the old stigmas. Still, some people still associate root canal therapy with traumatic stress and unbearable pain. In a significant majority of cases, this doesn’t happen and patients experience effortless recovery. If you experienced pain before your procedure, that alone is the biggest indicator of postoperative pain. It’s very unlikely your procedure will induce new pain, and even if it does, this is no indication something went wrong.

You can expect some mild bleeding and swelling, so use the gauze the dentist gave you. You can control most of the discomfort with regular pain reliever, in recommended doses.

Any discomfort that arises after your root canal is probably related to the root itself. Sometimes a dentist will inadvertently nick a ligament with a tool, or the rubber dam used to cover the surrounding teeth will pinch the adjoining gum tissue. This tenderness or awkwardness should go away within a few hours. If not, our expert in root canal in Van Nuys recommends you use a saltwater rinse every three to four hours until relief is achieved.

Make sure you get plenty of rest, remember to hydrate, and don’t chew on the affected tooth until it’s comfortable to do so.

For more, contact your Van Nuys dentists.

Steps in Root Canal Treatment

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The life of a tooth is found in the root canal. In it, connective nerves curate the growth of the tooth early in its development. When something goes wrong inside the tooth due to inflammation or infection, that life material, called pulp, can turn quickly into death material. It needs to be extricated entirely or you could risk losing the tooth altogether. Root canal therapy safely removes all infection from the tooth, and carefully replaces it with another substance.

Our expert in root canal in North Hollywood begins the procedure with an anesthetic that numbs the area. They access the root canal by drilling a tiny hole either in the biting surface of a back tooth, or through the back of a front tooth. The dentist then cleans the tooth and its root canals. This involves threading a highly complex tangle of nerves and ligaments, and you could end up with a lot of soreness if the doctor accidentally nicks something. To minimize risk and guide their efforts, our well-trained North Hollywood dentists rely on digital, ultrasonic, and microscopic technology.

After all root canals are cleaned and filled, the dentist will set you up with aftercare instructions and a referral for a restoration—a crown that will fully seal the top of the tooth. Your tooth should be back to full functionality within a week or two.

Complications Arising from Root Canals

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Root canal treatment usually goes smoothly, but complications can occur for a variety of reasons. Errors during the procedure and anomalies in tooth anatomy are often involved when problems do happen. Here is a look at the most common types of root canal complications.

Re-Infection

Errors or missed infected tissues can allow a tooth to become re-infected right after a root canal or later. Insufficient cleaning, delayed crown placement, and incomplete removal of infected tissue from abnormal tooth canals may be involved in these cases.

Root Perforation

Tooth roots are very delicate and often shaped in unusual ways, and they sometimes become punctured by instruments during a root canal procedure. In some cases, such punctures can be repaired immediately with no further issue.

Root or Crown Fracture

Following root canal therapy, teeth, and especially their roots, are more brittle than before. Further treatment, failure to place a crown, and habitual teeth grinding all can potentially fracture weakened roots. This often makes extraction necessary.

Complications of root canal treatment can happen during the procedure or later. Fortunately, complications are unusual and are treatable in a variety of ways. You can schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles endodontist to learn more about endodontic complications.

Getting a Root Canal

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If your tooth has suffered decay or injury to the point that it has affected the pulp, a root canal procedure will be the only way for you to save it. Alternately, you can have the tooth extracted and replaced with an implant, but it is always best to try and save your natural tooth.

If you are getting a root canal, the first step will be to have an X-ray done on the affected tooth to assess the extent of the damage. The dentist will then administer a local anesthetic and isolate the tooth from moisture using a dental dam. The decay will then be removed and an access hole will be drilled through the crown of the tooth. Using special instruments, the dentist will then remove the damaged pulp. The root canals will then be flushed and cleaned. If an infection is present, antibiotics will be administered at this point. The tooth will then be filled with a rubbery substance called gutta percha and topped with a dental filling. A dental crown will ultimately be used to restore the weakened tooth, with a metal post being used to support the crown if the tooth has been particularly weakened. This whole process can take anywhere from one to three visits to the dentist, depending on the specifics of your case.

If you are having tooth pain and believe you may need to have a root canal done, contact our dentist in Northridge to schedule an appointment.