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Endodontic (Root Canal) Treatment

Endodontic (Root Canal) Treatment

Also known as a root canal treatment, Endodontics is a treatment of the tooth aimed at clearing infection as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones but is detrimental to your overall health as well. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

Teeth that require endodontic treatment are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include:

  • Severe toothache
  • Pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Dark discoloration of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums

What happens during endodontic treatment?

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits, during which your endodontist removes the affected tissue. After the tissue is removed, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental restoration. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

Most teeth can be saved by endodontic treatment but tooth extraction may be necessary if:

  • Roots are severely fractured
  • The tooth does not have the adequate bone support
  • The tooth cannot be restored
  • Root canals are inaccessible

Endodontic treatment is intended to help save your tooth from extraction. Missing teeth can make you self-conscious, affect your ability to bite and chew, cause other healthy teeth to shift, and have a negative impact on your overall health. By choosing to receive endodontic treatment, you are choosing to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Pathologic Conditions

Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons manage patients with benign and malignant cysts and tumors of the oral and facial regions. Severe infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws, and neck are also treated.

Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery

Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons correct jaw, facial bone, and facial soft tissue problems left as the result of previous trauma or removal of pathology. This surgery to restore form and function often includes moving skin, bone, nerves, and other tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face. These same skills are also used when oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform cosmetic procedures for improvement of problems due to unwanted facial features or aging.

Facial Pain Including Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Maxillofacial Surgeons possess skills in the diagnosis and treatment of facial pain disorders including those due to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems.

Correction of Dento-facial (Bite) Deformities and Birth Defects

Usually in conjunction with an orthodontist, surgically reconstruct and realign the upper and lower jaws into proper dental and facial relationships to provide improved biting function and facial appearance. They also surgically correct birth defects of the face and skull including cleft lip and palate.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. These teeth usually appear in late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth.

When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.

Each patient’s situation is unique. Your dentist will usually take a panoramic X-ray to determine whether your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. If your dentist recommends the removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later.

When are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth’s roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier, as well as making the recovery time much shorter.

How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

To remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Your dentist can use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and embedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.

Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your dentist let you know what to expect and will provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.

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