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Endodontics (Root Canals)

Endodontics relates to the treatment of the nerve and tissues residing within the tooth and the area immediately surrounding the root of the tooth.

Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal):

If the nerve inside a tooth becomes irritated, injured, or infected, it will often require a root canal treatment to repair it. Many times, a persistent toothache indicates the need for this type of treatment; however, only a dentist can determine for sure if a root canal is needed for your tooth. There are also instances where endodontic treatment is indicated even when there is no pain associated with a tooth.

What is involved in endodontic treatment?

After anesthetizing your tooth to ensure your comfort, a rubber barrier is placed around the tooth to isolate it. Then, Dr. Sullens makes a small hole in the biting surface of the tooth to access the inner part of the tooth. Next, using special instruments and disinfecting solutions, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and shaped. Finally, a filler material is inserted to seal the tooth so that bacteria can no longer reside within it. It can take between one and three visits to complete a root canal, dependent on the complexity of the tooth.

After an appropriate restoration is placed on the visible part of the tooth (i.e., crown, filling, etc.), this endodontically-treated tooth should function normally again, pain-free, for many years, or even a lifetime.

What are the risks and complications?

More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. However, sometimes a procedure needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed or the fracture of a filing instrument, both of which rarely occur. Occasionally, a root canal therapy will fail for no apparent reason, marked by a return of pain or infection.

Other endodontic services:

Certain adjunctive endodontic treatments may be needed depending on the condition of an injured tooth. These include apicoectomy (surgery on the end of the tooth root) and internal bleaching (lightening the color of a darkened tooth). After carefully evaluating your tooth’s condition, Dr. Sullens can recommend appropriate treatments and either perform them at his office or refer you to a specialist in the field.