Endodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on treating tooth pain and the tooth’s inner chamber called the pulp, which is where the nerves and blood vessels reside. Root canal therapy is the most well-known and common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected, the infection needs to be removed to prevent further complications.
As an endodontist, Dr. Villalobos specializes in treating these types of problems and saving as much of your natural tooth as possible. With over 30 years of experience in the field of dentistry, you’ll know you’re in good hands with Dr. Villalobos.
Causes of a Tooth Infection
Root canal therapy is necessary when bacteria enter the inner chamber of the pulp and cause an infection. There are a variety of reasons that the infection can occur, including:
- Untreated decay
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Crowns that don’t fit
- Repeated dental procedures
Whatever the reason may be, it’s vitally important to seek treatment so that we can remove the infection and salvage your tooth. Failure to respond in a timely manner may lead to further complications and eventual tooth loss.
Symptoms of an Infected Root Canal
There are various symptoms that may be present when your root canal is infected. These include:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Tooth pain
- Swollen gums
- Tooth discoloration
- A visible cavity
While these are all symptoms of an infected root canal, they may also indicate something else is going on. If you need root canal therapy, schedule a consultation with Dr. Villalobos by calling our office at (561) 744-0677.
During the consultation, he’ll examine your oral health and create a customized treatment plan to get rid of the pain and restore your oral health.
Root Canal Therapy in 6 Steps
First, you’ll schedule a consultation with Dr. Villalobos, during which he’ll examine your oral health and take x-rays of your teeth and gums. Since endodontists also specialize in treating tooth pain, he’ll be able to identify where your pain is coming from and create a customized treatment plan to get rid of the discomfort.
If it turns out you need a root canal treatment, one will be scheduled at a later date. The procedure can be completed in 6 steps:
- The surgical area is numbed prior to the procedure
- A small hole is drilled to create an opening into the root canal
- The infected tissue is removed and the canal will be cleaned
- The space is filled with a sealant called gutta-percha
- A temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth
- A permanent restoration is placed
The treatment typically takes 1 to 2 appointments, each lasting 45 minutes. The amount of time it takes will depend on the extent of the infection and your individual needs.
What is root canal retreatment?
While 95% of root canal treatments are successful, about 5% fail to heal or become reinfected and require retreatment. This can happen within weeks or years. Root canal retreatment is performed in two visits. During your initial examination, Dr. Villalobos will take x-rays and schedule your retreatment for a later date.
Root canal retreatment can be completed in a few steps, including:
- The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic and sedation may be administered
- Your tooth will be reopened to remove the root canal filling material
- The canal will be cleaned and your tooth will be examined using a microscope to view any further complications
- A temporary restoration will be placed
- Your permanent restoration will be placed, restoring your tooth to its full function
By brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing between meals, you can help ensure a successful outcome for your initial procedure. Following a regular oral hygiene routine will help free your mouth of bacteria that can reinfect the area.
In some cases, root canals are unusually narrow or blocked. As a result, Dr.Villalobos may recommend an Apicoectomy (endodontic surgery) as an alternative to root canal therapy or a last line of defense after retreatment.
Occasionally, an infection will persist or return — an apicoectomy will rid your tooth of the infection and replace the nerve tip with a filling. There are many nerves that may contain the infected tissue, so it’s difficult to ensure that all of the infection is removed during root canal therapy.
The surgery takes place in a very small area, and only a few millimeters are removed from the root. To assist with this procedure, Dr. Villalobos uses an operating microscope and small precision instruments, leaving less room for error.
The Apicoectomy Procedure
Before the apicoectomy begins, you’ll be given a local anesthetic to numb the area and we’ll also administer sedation to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. Dr. Villalobos will start by making an incision in your gums to expose the root of your tooth.
Any inflamed tissue, bone, and nerves will then be removed. After the infected area is removed, we’ll place a filling at the tip of the root and suture your gums. After the area has healed, we’ll place a crown to complete the procedure.
Dr. Villalobos Can Solve Your Tooth Pain
No matter the cause of your tooth pain, Dr. Villalobos has the knowledge and experience necessary to get to the root of the issue. Contact our office by calling (561) 744-0677 so we can start you on your road to recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the thought of undergoing root canal therapy might be intimidating, the procedure is actually pain-free. Dr. Villalobos will numb the area prior to treatment so you won’t feel a thing. He’ll also administer dental sedation in the form of nitrous oxide, anxiolysis, oral sedation, or IV sedation to ensure you’re free of pain and anxiety.
Dental sedation will allow you to fully relax into a comfortable state while Dr. Villalobos restores your oral health. Following the procedure, you may experience some sensitivity. However, any discomfort can be managed with over the counter pain relievers and a cold compress.
It typically takes 6 months for the bone to begin to regenerate and the area to heal completely. Immediately following the surgery, you can expect to experience some pain and swelling that can be alleviated by applying ice and taking over-the-counter pain medications. Dr. Villalobos may also prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to ensure a successful recovery.
During our procedures, Dr. Villalobos utilizes conscious sedation methods to ensure you’re comfortable throughout your treatment. Even though patients are awake during conscious sedation, they report feeling relaxed and free of worry. You’ll still be able to respond to verbal stimuli, though you may not remember the procedure later.
During your consultation, Dr. Villalobos will evaluate your oral health and provide you with a list of options that may include root canal therapy or tooth extraction. While a tooth extraction will rid your mouth of the infection, it’s only used as a last resort when the tooth has a poor prognosis.
A missing tooth can cause a number of issues including bone loss and shifting teeth. As a result, you’ll require a restoration such as a bridge or a dental implant. That’s why it’s always best to preserve your natural tooth when possible with either root canal therapy or an apicoectomy procedure.