Endodontics is a field of dentistry focusing on the tooth root, pulp, and surrounding tissues. Dental pulp is a viscous tissue in the center of the tooth, extending to the bone. It is contained in spaces inside the tooth called the pulp chamber and root canal. When the dental pulp becomes infected or injured, it can cause toothaches and extreme sensitivity. If not treated, the condition can progress to an abscess, with potential to damage the jawbone.
Endodontic therapy, commonly called a root canal, is one of the most common, and most feared dental procedures. There is a common misconception that a root canal is excruciating, slow healing, and often ineffective. That myth sprung from the early days of dentistry, before techniques or anesthetics were refined. Modern root canal therapy is gentle, comfortable, and it has a success rate of 90 to 95 percent.
Before the procedure, your tooth will be completely numbed to ensure your comfort. Your doctor will access the tooth root, and gently remove the damaged pulp, including the nerve. The canal is sterilized to prevent re-infection, then filled and sealed. In most cases, it will be topped with a cosmetic crown for protection and esthetic restoration. There may be slight soreness following the procedure, but it resolves quickly. Most patients compare a root canal to getting a filling.
In the rare event that symptoms return after a root canal, a second treatment is usually effective. We prefer to use the gentlest, least invasive techniques available, so endodontic surgery is considered a last resort. However, in a few specific cases, when a root canal procedure is not sufficient, an apicoectomy may be recommended.
The tip of the root, where nerves and blood vessels enter the canal, is called the apex. In a typical root canal procedure, the pulp and infected tissues are removed from inside the chamber. An apicoectomy also removes the apex. This procedure can save a tooth that would otherwise require extraction. It usually takes less than two hours. The after effects of this procedure are minimal. There may be slight bruising and swelling, which usually lasts less than two weeks.
You don't have to fear a "root canal" or endodontic surgery. With today's advanced dental technology, in the skilled hands of Dr. Roy L Irons, these procedures are gentle, predictable, and pain relieving. If you have been experiencing toothaches, sensitivity, or other dental problems, call Gulf Coast Dental Center at (228) 863-6413
and schedule an appointment today.
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