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Innovative Endodontics
Our Services
What is an Endodontist?

Endodontics is a specialty of Dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures. Endodontists are Dentists with special training in this field. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose.

 

In order to understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard tissue called Enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called Dentin, and inside of the dentin is a soft tissue known as the Pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentin and Enamel during tooth development. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, in an adult it is a remnant and is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

 

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities and repeated dental procedures. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often causes discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain and/or lead to an abscess.

 

Indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums and swelling. Sometimes there are no symptoms, and your dentist may see evidence of endodontic problems on radiographs and refer you for evaluation The Endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system and then seals the prepared space. The most predicable treatment often requires two or more appointments. At the end of the first appointment an antibacterial intracanal medicament (calcium hydroxide) will be placed in your tooth to help sterilize the canal system and stimulate bone healing. Treatment will most often be completed at the second visit.

 

The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function. The doctor will place a permanent seal as part of your treatment. Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for additional reconstruction. Most posterior teeth which receive endodontic therapy will need to be permanently restored with a crown (cap). If a tooth already has an existing crown, most of the time a small opening can be made in the crown to treat the root space, followed by repair of the opening.

 

What about Pain?

Pain in their tooth or jaw is the primary reason people seek our care. Some of our patients are nervous about having dental care, usually because of poor childhood experiences.  When treated early, root canal therapy is generally quite predictably successful. For advanced cases, with infection in the surrounding bone, we take a more conservative approach, and it may take several visits for resolution. This will be discussed with you at your initial visit. After treatment, your tooth will be tender to biting for several days, but generally within a week it will be comfortable to function again and within a month it will feel completely back to normal. Post op discomfort is usually well controlled with Advil (ibuprofen) or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Occasionally people require stronger pain medication, but that is rarely necessary. Some teeth that are badly infected will require antibiotic therapy. The doctors have extensive knowledge and experience in treating these infections and can prescribe appropriate antibiotics for you when necessary. Generally we do not have to prescribe antibiotics once the tooth has been opened and medicated. We believe that minimal drug therapy is desirable, and only prescribe what is truly indicated.

 

Sedation

We employ the latest local anesthesia techniques and this is a cornerstone of our practice. We want you to have absolutely minimal discomfort. If you would like to have oral sedation, that can be arranged as long as you have a driver. We utilize Halcion (triazolam) which is extremely safe and effective.