Posts for tag: root canal

By Chapman & Owens, D.D.S., PLLC
August 29, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal   dental injury  
AlternativestoRootCanalTreatmentCanSaveanInjuredImmatureTooth

When a permanent tooth has been injured, our first priority should be to save it. A root canal treatment (where the interior pulp of the tooth is removed and the pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed) is usually the best approach for tooth preservation.

An immature permanent tooth, however, presents a different challenge. While the pulp is less essential to a mature tooth’s vitality, it serves a critical purpose in the tooth’s early development before early adulthood. The pulp produces layers of dentin necessary for the tooth’s root system development. Completely removing the pulp at this stage may retard root development and cause the tooth to eventually weaken, and become brittle and darkened.

For younger teeth, we should therefore use alternative techniques that preserve as much healthy pulp as possible. One of these alternatives is Indirect Pulp Therapy, used when the pulp hasn’t been exposed by the trauma. With this technique we remove as much damaged dentin as possible while preserving the harder dentin closer to the pulp. After applying an antibacterial agent to protect against infection, and then filling and sealing the tooth, the pulp can continue to produce dentin in a normal way.

If pulp exposure has occurred, some form of pulpotomy — the partial removal of any damaged or infected pulp — would be in order. Our goal here is to leave as much of the pulp as possible, and then apply substances that stimulate the remaining pulp to create dentin. The most common type of growth substances are calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA).

If the pulp isn’t at all salvageable, we may then turn to a procedure known as apexification. After removing the pulp we insert MTA at the root end of the tooth, then fill and seal the remaining interior as in a regular root canal treatment. The MTA will help the surrounding bone to heal and continue to grow around the root to further support the tooth.

Recent research into pulp stem cells promises further advances in this area. The regenerative qualities of stem cells could eventually help us “engineer” root development. Until then, there are still effective ways to give a young, damaged tooth a fighting chance to survive.

If you would like more information on preserving injured teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Saving New Permanent Teeth After Injury.”

By Chapman & Owens, D.D.S., PLLC
February 26, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
CanYouWhitenTraumatizedTeeth

If you are pleased with your smile except for that one front tooth that appears darker, then we have good news for you. Often a tooth appears darker as a result of trauma that may have occurred years ago. Your tooth may need root canal treatment or may have already had root canal treatment in the past. Regardless, you can whiten this tooth via a process called internal bleaching. And as the name suggests, the tooth can be bleached from the inside out. Here's a brief summary of how this entire process works:

  1. Performing an x-ray exam: The first step is to take a radiograph (x-ray) to make sure that your root canal filling is intact adequately sealing the root canal and the surrounding bone is healthy.
  2. Making an access hole: To apply the bleaching agent, a small hole will need to be made in the back of your tooth to apply the bleach. However, before doing that, the area must be thoroughly cleaned and irrigated.
  3. Sealing above the root canal filling: This step is critical to prevent the bleach from leaking into the root canal space.
  4. Applying the bleach: To obtain the whitening needed, it typically requires between one and four office visits for additional bleaching.
  5. Applying a permanent restoration: Once your tooth has lightened to the desired color, a permanent filling will be placed over the small hole to seal your tooth's dentin. This is then covered with tooth-colored composite resin (filling material) so that the access hole is undetectable to the naked eye.

To learn more about this procedure and see amazing before and after images, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.” Or, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.

By Chapman & Owens, D.D.S., PLLC
October 17, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  
QuizYourselfonRootCanalTreatmentHowMuchDoYouKnow

Test yourself on your knowledge of this dental procedure.

  1. A root canal is
    1. A canal shaped structure in the root of your tooth
    2. A blood vessel carrying blood from your gum to your tooth
    3. An instrument used by your dentist in performing dental surgery
  2. Which of these are symptoms of root canal infection?
    1. Sharp, acute and intense pain, which is difficult to pinpoint
    2. Sharp pain when biting down on your tooth or on food
    3. Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods
    4. Dull ache and pressure
    5. Tenderness (accompanied by swelling) in the nearby gums
    6. All the above
  3. If you don't feel any pain you do not have a root canal infection.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. Root canal treatment is a very painful experience.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. Root canal treatment is called endodontic therapy. What does this word mean?
    1. Bringing the end of your problems
    2. Inside your tooth
    3. Fighting gum disease
  6. You need root canal treatment if
    1. The inside or pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected
    2. Your tooth needs to be gently moved in order to correct your bite
    3. Acid erosion is damaging your tooth
  7. During root canal treatment the canals in your teeth are cleaned out and sealed off.
    1. True
    2. False
  8. Who is qualified to perform root canal treatment?
    1. General dentists
    2. Endodontists
    3. Both of the above
Answers
  1. a. A root canal is a canal shaped space within the root of a tooth that holds the tooth's pulp — which contains the tooth's nerves and blood vessels.
  2. f. — all of the above
  3. False. It is possible to have an infection that has stopped hurting but is still present and causing damage.
  4. False. Root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it.
  5. b. The word comes from roots meaning “inside” and “tooth.”
  6. a.
  7. True. A small opening is made in the chewing surface of your tooth to gain access to the pulp. Dead and dying tissue is removed and the pulp is cleaned and disinfected. The canals are shaped and then sealed with filling materials to prevent future infection.
  8. c. All general dentists have received training in endodontic treatment and can perform most endodontic procedures. They often refer people needing complicated root canal treatment to endodontists, who have had specialized training in endodontic diagnosis and treatment.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about root canal treatment. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”


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