Endodontics is the area of dentistry that’s focused on the interior portion of the tooth (the pulp) and the tooth root. The most common endodontic procedure is root canal therapy, but there are other endodontic treatments as well, including apicoectomy, a procedure that removes the end of the tooth root when the area becomes infected or damaged by trauma. In our practice, digital x-rays are used to provide important information about the health of the tooth to determine if a root canal is the best approach for treatment.
Teeth have two primary layers - a hard outer part made of enamel and dentin, and an interior portion that includes the connective tissues, nerves and other tissues that support the health of the tooth. Damage to the outer layers can be repaired with a filling or similar restoration. But when the pulp becomes damaged, a root canal is needed to remove the damaged area and restore the tooth so it can be preserved.
Traditionally, root canals have been performed in two visits. During the first visit, the root canal procedure is performed and a temporary “cover” is placed on the tooth to protect it. At the second visit, the canal is sealed and a permanent crown replaces the temporary restoration. The good news is, advances in root canal techniques now make it possible to have root canals completed in just one visit, with the root canal procedure immediately followed by the sealant and application of the crown. Patients benefit from having to plan (and sit through) a single office visit instead of two, and because the canal is completely clean and “disinfected” immediately after the procedure, applying the crown right away can also reduce the risk of infection.
Rotary endodontics uses special electric-powered tools to remove the damaged pulp material. The tip of the rotary tool spins very quickly, and this movement combined with the more flexible design of the tool means the canal area can be cleaned more efficiently and the entire procedure can be performed more quickly compared to root canal procedures performed with stainless steel instruments.
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