Root Canal Therapy
To provide you with a better understanding of endodontic therapy, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to root canals are discussed.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is the pulp. The pulp tissue is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.
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How is a root canal performed?
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical root canal treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine. In addition, we can provide different levels of sedation if indicated.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
Are all Root Canal Treatments the same?
All root canal therapies have a common goal; to save your tooth by removing any inflamed or infectious tissue. But all root canal treatment methods are not the same. We believe that there is a difference between different types of root canal treatments and our philosophy is stated below with some background information.
Over 40 years ago, Dr. Herbert Schilder introduced a concept of cleaning and shaping root canals in a tapering shape and then filling that space three-dimensionally with gutta-percha, warmed in the canal and compacted vertically. This method became known at the Schilder Method. It was his contention that all the exits from the tooth were clinically significant and must be sealed with a maximum amount of gutta-percha and a minimum amount of sealer to obtain the highest success rate.
Warm gutta-percha, vertically compacted has proved MOST effective in filling the canals of severely curved roots and roots with lateral canals, or with multiple exits. Dr. Michaelian studied under Dr. Schilder at Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry and have used this philosophy and technique for over 40 years of combined practice. In fact all Doctors of Bay Area Endodontics perform the vertically compacted warm gutta-percha technique because it is the most effective technique to achieve an optimal outcome.
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