Root canals are needed when decay and bacteria spread for too long without treatment. At a certain point, this decay makes it to the pulp inside the tooth. This pulp includes nerves, therefore infection generally causes a lot of pain. Since this is happening on the inside of the tooth, you won’t necessarily see the damage. Instead, you could feel it through pain and notice other signs that include bleeding, swelling and bad breath.
At the center of each of your teeth is a collection of blood vessels that provide structure and help form and calcify the tooth as it was growing. This collection of blood vessels is called the pulp. The pulp becomes injured or infected through trauma to the tooth, extensive decay, chipping or cracking, or through repeated dental procedures. Once the pulp becomes infected, it can be identified through visible injury or swelling around the tooth and sensitivity to pressure, pain, or temperature in the tooth and gums.
Endodontic retreatment may be necessary if re-infection occurs on your previously root canaled tooth. Retreatment involves removal of the existing root canal materials to reclean the canal system and remove infection. Re-infection of the canal system can occur for a variety of reasons. Your doctor will examine the causes and potential solutions, including the possibility for endodontic retreatment.
An apicoectomy is a removal of the very tip, or apex, of a tooth’s root. Also known as “root end surgery”, this procedure may be necessary if you have a persistent infection, pain, or swelling after having root canal therapy. If an apicoectomy is recommended by your endodontic specialist, this means that your tooth cannot be saved through a root canal or other endodontic procedure. The purpose of an apicoectomy is to preserve your natural tooth by removing the tip of the root.
Beyond this procedure, the next option is to remove the tooth. Because a tooth extraction can harm nearby teeth that are healthy, it is usually the last procedure your endodontist will recommend.
If you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity after biting into hard food or being hit in the mouth, you may have a cracked tooth that needs to be treated. Of course, blunt force trauma isn’t the only way to crack a tooth as a filling failure can also cause cracks. Cracked teeth are surprisingly common among patients of all ages and, depending on the severity, are entirely treatable.
We’ve all had that nightmare about losing or cracking our teeth, but to have it happen in real life can be quite upsetting and painful. Traumatic dental injuries can be the result of an accident or a sports-related injury and can include anything from chipping a tooth to having a tooth or multiple teeth knocked out. When you experience a traumatic injury to your mouth or a tooth, it is imperative to seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Endodontists are trained in saving injured teeth, and depending on the severity of your injury, there may be several treatment options available to you.
For cracked or chipped teeth, we can repair the tooth by reattaching the broken piece (if you have it) or by adding a tooth-colored filling to the affected area. If the pulp of the tooth is exposed or damaged, a root canal may be necessary. Generally speaking, front teeth cracks, fractures, or chips are more accessible and easier to treat than those of back teeth. If a back tooth is injured, a root canal and crown may be recommended as we make sure the crack does not extend further into the root.