Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)

Q & A on Root Canals

Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment after endodontic treatment?

You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.

Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.



What causes an endodontically treated tooth to need additional treatment?

New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.



Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

Most teeth can be treated. Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored. However, advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth. 

Why do I need another endodontic procedure?

 

As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:

  • Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.

  • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.

  • The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.

  • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.

  • In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated. For example:  New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.

  • A loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can expose the tooth to new infection.

  • A tooth sustains a fracture.

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