Root Canal

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp 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.



Surgical Root Canal Treatment

Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with injured pulp from extraction. Occasionally, this non-surgical procedure will not be sufficient to heal the tooth and one of our doctors will recommend surgery. Endodontic surgery can be used to locate fractures or hidden canals that do not appear on X-rays but still manifest as pain in the tooth. Damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone may also be treated. The most common surgery used to save damaged teeth is an apicoectomy or root-end resection.


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Injuries to the mouth can cause teeth to be pushed back into their sockets. One of the doctors at the Center for Endodontics may reposition and stabilize your tooth. Root canal treatment is usually started within a few weeks of the injury and a medication, such as calcium hydroxide, will be placed inside the tooth. Eventually, a permanent root canal filling will be placed.
Sometimes a tooth may be pushed partially out of the socket. Again, our doctors may reposition and stabilize your tooth. If the pulp remains healthy, then no other treatment is necessary. However, if the pulp becomes damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required.


Root Canal Retreatment

With the appropriate care, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth. Occasionally a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or continue to cause pain. Sometimes, the pain may occur months or years after treatment. If so, endodontic retreatment may be needed.


Root End Induction

Traumatic injury in children might result in pulpal involvement of their permanent teeth while the roots are incompletely formed. To improve the chances of saving the tooth, the following procedures might be needed:

This procedure aims to heal the pulp and encourages the root to continue its development. Drs. John West, Jason West and Jordan West will cover the pulp with medication. The tip of the root will continue to close as the child gets older. If the pulp heals, often no additional treatment will be necessary. The more mature the root becomes, the better the chance to save the tooth.

In this case, the unhealthy pulp is removed. Drs. John West, Jason West and Jordan West will place some medication into the root to help a hard tissue form near the root tip. This hardened tissue provides a barrier for the root canal filling. At this point, since the root canal walls will cease to develop, making the tooth susceptible to fracture, it is important to have the tooth properly restored. 


Internal Bleaching

Internal bleaching is a technique that is used to whiten the appearance of teeth. Unlike over-the-counter solutions that are used to whiten teeth, internal bleaching is conducted under the direction of a dentist. Because the treatment requires invasive action, it is important that a professional conduct the tooth bleaching in a controlled environment. The process for an internal bleaching involves the insertion of a chemical oxidizing agent into the tooth. This is accomplished by drilling into the tooth using drills similar to those used for root canals. The agent is left in the tooth for up to two weeks, and then replaced with more chemicals until the tooth achieves the level of whiteness desired. Once the series of treatments are complete, the hole is filled, ensuring that foreign matter will not be able to invade the tooth and cause other problems. Not everyone is a candidate for internal bleaching. One of our doctors will evaluate the degree of staining and discoloration that is present. If the doctors determine that the use of external bleaching treatments or over-the-counter products will achieve the results, he will not recommend an internal bleaching series.