Endodontic Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

We are proud to offer our patients the latest in root canal therapy. A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthened filler.

A common misconception is that a root canal is a painful procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal pain.

There are a number of reasons a root canal may be necessary, including:

  • Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
  • Severe sensitivity to hot and cold elements
  • Tooth decay
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Blow to the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
  • Repeated dental procedures on a tooth

When left untreated, these problems can lead to severe tooth decay reaching the root of the tooth, causing extensive damage to the tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, we can perform a root canal to preserve the tooth and retain its original integrity.

The root canal procedure involves the following steps:

  • The patient undergoes anesthesia.
  • A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
  • The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
  • The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
  • With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
  • The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
  • A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening
  • Following a recovery period, the patient will return for the placement of a permanent restoration.

We will work with each patient individually to discuss the details of your treatment and any possible alternatives. Our top priority is to provide you with the highest standard of care.

Endodontic Retreatment

Teeth with endodontic treatment can last as long as natural teeth as long as you brush and floss daily, have routine check-ups and eat a healthy diet. However, if a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy and does not heal, or even if treatment is successful, sometimes pain resumes, and the tooth becomes diseased. Under these circumstances, endodontic retreatment may save your tooth.

Reasons for Retreatment

  • Damage to the root: Root damage can occur as a result of a root fracture or because of the formation of a cyst or infection around the tip of the root.
  • New decay develops: When the root canal filling is exposed to bacteria as a result of decay, the treatment area may become infected again. A broken, loose or cracked crown or filling can yield the same result.
  • Root canals are not thoroughly cleaned and sealed: For treatment to be effective, the root canals must be thoroughly cleaned and sealed as close to the root as possible. In some cases, the canals may be so tiny, curved or hardened that they may be difficult to clean thoroughly.

The Retreatment Procedure

During endodontic retreatment, the root canals are reopened, filled and sealed again. Usually the crown and other materials must be removed for the dentist to access to the canals. The inside of the tooth is carefully examined for the presence of other canals and unusual anatomy to ensure a thorough cleaning and sealing during this retreatment.

If the canals are narrow, curved or hardened, Dr. Stapleton can make an incision close to the end of the root, so that the tip of the root can be sealed.

Following the final visit, a new restoration must be placed to protect the tooth and to restore biting and chewing functions.

Alternatives to Retreatment

Endodontic surgery or surgery along with retreatment may be recommended. Tooth extraction is the only other alternative. This process is ultimately more expensive and time consuming because the tooth must be replaced. While modern tooth replacements are effective, nothing is better than your natural tooth.

If you have any questions, please call our office and speak to a member of our staff about endodontics.