Endodontics, or root canal therapy becomes necessary when the nerve inside the tooth is devitalized by invading bacteria or trauma. Patients usually experience pain on chewing or a spontaneous mild to severe toothache. A general dentist or endodontist (root canal therapy specialist) can evaluate the tooth’s health as well as provide the expert treatment needed. Referral to an endodontist is based on degree of difficulty in terms of length, curvature, and calcification of the root. Dr. Tran will refer to a specialist when it is in the best interest of the patient.
Root canal therapy involves the cleaning out of infected tissue within the tooth and filling and sealing the entire length of the root. To the dental patient, the specter of root canal therapy evokes feelings of dread and anticipatory severe pain. However, with today’s advancements in the procedure, there is little to fear. If therapy is performed before a large abscess forms, most of the discomfort can be avoided. Minor pain can be expected following the procedure but should subside a day or two later.
Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like Aleve or Motrin are recommended for post-op discomfort. All posterior teeth, after root canal treatment, require a crown in order to minimize the chances of fracture. Front teeth often do not require crowns. Determining factors are the amount and strength of the remaining tooth structure and the patient’s bite and oral habits.