Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries to the pulp or nerve of the tooth. Our dental professionals in Redlands, CA, are specially trained to perform these procedures – each involving internal tissue or nerve treatments, such as root canal therapy and apicoectomy.
Endodontics is a vital specialty of the dental profession that helps to preserve teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted. By treating the interior contents and tissues that contribute to the life of the tooth, we can help our patients avoid more serious problems in the future and ensure they keep their natural teeth healthy for life.
To learn more about the endodontic services we offer, as well as how these procedures are performed on various tooth structures, we invite you to read below. If you would like to schedule a treatment with us or ask a question, contact our office today! We will be delighted to serve you.
Located in the front-most region of your upper and lower dental arches, your anterior teeth consist of eight incisors (four along the center top and bottom jaw) and four canines (one on either side of the group of incisors). With their primary purpose being to cut, tear, and slice food, these teeth have a sharp edge and a prominent appearance in the smile.
It’s imperative that these teeth are kept healthy – not only because they are the most likely to be seen, but they are essential when it comes to the function of both eating and speaking.
When a root canal or apicoectomy is performed on an anterior tooth, it is performed in the same manner as it would for any other tooth:
- Infection is accessed and removed
- Tooth canals are cleaned and sealed
- All affected areas are properly prepared for recovery and future function
When performing a root canal on an anterior tooth, the procedure is typically very smooth with a rapid recovery time. This is due to the fact that each of these teeth has only one root chamber and, typically, only one root canal. The incisors are also much thinner than other teeth and contain less pulp.
Premolars, also known as bicuspids, are located between the canine teeth and the molars in each of the four quadrants of the mouth. There are two teeth in each section, for a total of eight within the mouth. Premolars have a transitional structure between the tearing function of the canines and the biting function of the molars, allowing them to serve multiple purposes in properly chewing food.
These teeth usually have either one or two root canals each; in less common cases, there may be a third canal. When performing an endodontic procedure on these teeth, we always take extra care to inspect x-rays and ensure that each infected canal is recognized and cleared.
Molars tend to be the most common teeth that are treated by both root canals and apicoectomies. Due to their natural anatomical structures, these teeth are more prone to decay as bacteria and food debris accumulate in their deep fissures and grooves. Molars are located in the far back regions of the mouth, with two teeth located in each region. However, some patients may have three molars in each quadrant if their wisdom teeth emerge without needing extraction; this leads to a total of between eight and twelve molars. Molars have a larger surface area than other teeth and are used to mash and crush food for proper digestion.
Molars have between two and three roots and may have four or more root canals. Although molars have multiple canals, they are often the less complex teeth to treat in endodontics because of their larger structure and predictable anatomy.
While root canal procedures have an incredibly high rate of success, there are some circumstances that may cause an infection to reoccur or persist. This may be due to a variety of factors, such as the following:
- Recurrent decay on the same tooth
- Loose or broken dental crown
- Missing crown with delay in replacement
- Infected canal or canals left untreated
- Failure to heal properly after the first procedure
In the event that a tooth becomes reinfected, we will perform the following retreatment procedure:
- To begin, we will remove the dental crown to reveal the chamber of the tooth.
- From this opening, we will remove the previously placed canal filling and clean the canals again to remove the infection.
- Upon closely inspecting the inside of the tooth, we will determine if there are any additional canals that were previously undetected.
- The retreatment will then be completed with more filling material and sealed by a new crown.
If we discover that your tooth canals are too narrow or anatomically difficult to clean sufficiently, we may suggest an apicoectomy so that we can reach the source of the infection more effectively.
An apicoectomy is a procedure performed to remove an infection from a tooth following the completion of a root canal. While a root canal may be performed again as a retreatment procedure, there are some cases where removing a dental restoration and performing the root canal a second time may be more harmful.
In the event that an infection occurs or persists after root canal treatment, access is then made to the root end of the tooth to remove the infection.
- To begin the procedure, the area surrounding the tooth is sufficiently numbed to prevent any pain or discomfort.
- From there, the root of the tooth is accessed through a small surgical incision made in the gum tissue; this gives us direct access to the base of the tooth and the site of infection.
- Upon first removing any infected tissues from this region, we will also remove a small portion of the root tip.
- Once the tip of the root is removed, we will clean the root canal and place a filling to seal the tooth. This ensures that the risk of further infection is eliminated.
- When the procedure is complete, we will suture the gum tissue closed and allow the area to heal. Over time, the absence of infection will allow the surrounding tissues and bone to regenerate around the filling.