Unless you have been referred to a specialist for a root canal treatment, you may not have heard the term “Endodontics” before now. Even if you have, here are a few interesting things you may not have known about this dental specialty.
“Endodontics” is taken from two older Greek terms literally meaning “inner tooth.” In the word endodontics, “endo” is a prefix meaning “inner” and “odont” is the root word “tooth.” Endodontic treatment dates back to the 17th century.
Endodontics focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of the internal structure of the tooth. This can include root canal therapy, apicoectomy, treatment of tooth infections, and more.
Endodontists start by training as dentists. Prior to obtaining their specialization, an endodontist like our doctor will earn a degree in dentistry. Afterward, they will complete an additional 2-4 years of focused education and training to gain their specialization.
Root canal treatment preserves a tooth. If you develop an infection in the soft inner tissue of your tooth, antibiotics are not sufficient to treat the issue. Rather than removing your permanent tooth, a root canal treatment will clean out the infection and fill the tooth to protect it from further damage. A single root canal treatment can preserve your tooth for a lifetime.
Root canal therapy relieves pain. Contrary to popular belief, having root canal treatment is not the cause of the pain that people often associate with it. The infection or trauma that underlies the need for treatment is the cause of the pain. Even though your tooth will likely be tender for a few days, most patients notice significantly reduced sensitivity following treatment.
Endodontists can help save a tooth following dental trauma. In addition to their expertise in root canal treatment, endodontists receive training in a wide range of dental trauma concerns. In many cases, our doctor may be able to stabilize or reposition an injured tooth to prevent the need for extraction.
As a patient, you likely think of your general dentist or hygienist as your partner in your dental health. These are people you see frequently, who monitor your oral health during each visit and talk with you regarding any progress or potential issues that they find. While both of these dental professionals are vital, your endodontist can be a valuable partner in ensuring your oral health, as well.
It is likely that you were originally referred to our office by your general dentist because you needed root canal treatment. Endodontists specialize in performing root canal therapy to help save an infected tooth from extraction. However, this is not our only area of expertise. As an endodontist, our doctor’s specialty training also focused heavily on providing effective treatment for dental trauma.
Damage or trauma to the teeth, mouth, or jaws can range from very mild to extreme. Dr. Alvarado and office is available for expert consultation, evaluation, and treatment of dental trauma, often extending beyond normal business hours. If you or your child experience dental trauma, contact our office and your general dentist immediately, so you can be seen and treated as soon as possible.
Dental trauma includes:
Cracked or fractured tooth
Soft tissue injury to gums, lips, cheek, or tongue
Jaw bone injury
Damage to dental restoration
As one of your partners in dental health, our team is happy to provide you with any information you need regarding the services we offer. Whether you need a quick appointment for dental trauma treatment, root canal therapy to stop the pain from an infected tooth, or a second opinion on whether a tooth needs to be extracted, we are here to help.
What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a specialty in dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions involving the nerves and other tissues within the teeth. These conditions range from cracked teeth to infection and abscesses of the inner central pulp of the tooth. Endodontics differs from general dentistry as it involves more sophisticated treatments such as root canal therapy and endodontic surgery.
The main goal of endodontic care is to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted due to tooth decay, trauma, or infection. A patient’s natural tooth can be preserved through proper endodontic treatments, reducing the need for more complex dental procedures, such as dental implants. Endodontists also use specialized techniques and materials to treat damaged and infected teeth successfully.
Endodontics has become an important tool for modern dental treatment and has a high success rate for saving teeth and promoting long-term dental health. Therefore, properly diagnosing and treating endodontic diseases can help minimize the need for more extensive and expensive treatments, promoting overall dental health.
Endodontic treatments are more involved than general dentistry, often requiring special instruments, medications, and advanced X-rays to help ensure the best possible outcome. Whereas general dentistry focuses mainly on preventive care and treatments, endodontics centers on saving teeth and restoring their functionality. Here are the types of treatments and procedures endodontists perform
Common Endodontic Procedures at Our Fort Lauderdale Office
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a dental procedure used to treat an infected or inflamed tooth. During the procedure, the infected pulp is removed, and the tooth’s interior is shaped and filled with a special material. The patient typically receives a crown to cover the tooth and restore it to normal function. The procedure usually relieves the pain associated with the infection.
Endodontic retreatment is a procedure where a previous root canal treatment is reopened to repair a failed treatment or access an infection. This may include accessing a blocked canal, removing broken instruments, filling material, and re-filling and sealing the root canal system.
A surgical procedure to remove the end of the root (apical) of a tooth and the surrounding tissue. It is used to treat infected root tips or damage from prior treatments. An incision is made in the gum to access the affected root, and the infected tissue is removed before cutting the root end. A root-end filling is then placed to seal the root canal.
Dental Trauma Management
Dental trauma management involves treating injuries to the teeth, jaws, gums, and mouth-supporting structures. Treatment usually involves stabilizing any displaced/fractured teeth and effectively managing infection. It often includes accessing the pulp chamber and cleaning, shaping, and sealing the root canal. Additional treatment options may include oronasal or oral surgery.
Importance Of Endodontic Care
Endodontic care is an integral component of maintaining overall oral health. This type of dental care specializes in diagnosing and treating issues related to the nerve and root of teeth. Endodontic treatment can save a tooth from decay, infection, or trauma, by preserving the remaining healthy enamel and root structure.
Root canal treatments can prevent the extraction of the tooth, which can help maintain the natural function and aesthetics of the smile. Endodontic treatments are highly effective and typically last many years with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits. By preserving your natural teeth, endodontic care helps to protect the structure of your mouth and keeps your smile looking and feeling its best.
How To Choose An Endodontist in Fort Lauderdale
When choosing an endodontist in your local Fort Lauderdale area, look for someone certified by the American Association of Endodontists and with extensive experience in the field. Additionally, inquire about any special approaches or treatments they may offer. Research the endodontist’s credentials and ensure they have a valid license to practice.
Contact friends, family, and colleagues for referrals, or use online resources like HealthGrades to read patient reviews before selecting a practitioner. Ask about payment plans and any financial assistance options available. Finally, it is important to be comfortable with the endodontist once you have met them and select the one who best meets your individual needs.
Preparing For Your Endodontic Procedure at Our Fort Lauderdale Office
Following your dentist’s instructions before, during, and after an endodontic procedure is important. Before the procedure, brush and floss your teeth thoroughly and refrain from eating or drinking within the previous four hours. You may also need to take antibiotics prescribed by the dentist. During the procedure, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and then make an access opening to prepare for root canal treatment.
You may experience pressure or be asked to bite down during this procedure. After the procedure, you may be prescribed pain or anti-inflammatory medications. A follow-up appointment is also needed to check the healing of the area. You must keep the area clean and practice good oral hygiene while you heal.
Common Root Canal Myths And Misconceptions
Myth: Root canals are painful.
Truth: Root canals are a very comfortable procedure. Most people report minimal to no pain during the procedure compared to what they were experiencing before the treatment. With the help of anesthetics and new technology, root canal treatments are much better tolerated than in the past.
Myth: Root canals are dangerous and unhealthy.
Truth: While some have expressed concerns about potential risks associated with root canals, modern root canal treatments have been proven safe and effective. The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that root canals are a safe and effective method for preserving a tooth when its pulp becomes infected.
Myth: You don’t need root canals if you floss and brush.
Truth: No matter how well you brush and floss, your teeth may still be vulnerable to decay. Even with good dental hygiene, bacteria can enter the pulp of your tooth, leading to infection. That’s why root canal treatments are necessary.
Endodontic care is essential to maintaining oral health. Endodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating many dental issues, including root canals, abscesses, and other causes of tooth and jaw pain. Endodontic treatment can ensure that even badly damaged teeth can be saved through specialized root canal treatments. By visiting an All Smiles Dental, patients can receive the care they need to restore oral health and improve their overall quality of life. If you are experiencing any pain, discomfort, or concerns regarding your teeth and gums, it is highly recommended that you seek out an endodontist for an evaluation.
If you have ever needed root canal therapy, you may know that an Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in treatment of the tooth root. However, there are some cases where traditional root canal therapy will not be possible or will not yield the best solution for your infection. In these cases, your dentist may refer you to our office for an apicoectomy. Here’s what you need to know:
What it is
An apicoectomy is a minor treatment that involves removing the infected tip of a tooth root, then sealing the interior of the tooth to prevent further infection.
Why It Is Done
In most cases, when pulp in the root of a tooth becomes infected, root canal therapy is performed. This removes the infection and prevents it from spreading further. In traditional root canal therapy, the full pulp is removed from the tooth, along with any infected tissue. When this is not possible or previous root canal therapy has failed, an apicoectomy is recommended.
An apicoectomy is generally performed by a certified Endodontist, like our doctor. You will receive local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout your treatment. We will make a small incision in the gum tissue. The inflamed root tip is then removed and sealed to prevent the infection from spreading. You should expect this treatment to take 30 to 90 minutes. In most cases, an apicoectomy on a front tooth takes less time than one on a lower molar.
What to expect afterwards
Like any oral surgery, some discomfort can occur for the first few days following the procedure. When brushing your teeth, you will want to be gentle around the area. Any further discomfort can usually be mitigated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. We may prescribe medicine, if needed, to alleviate any discomfort that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Please use medications only as directed by our doctor.
Unlike traditional root canal therapy, you may not need to have a dental crown placed following an apicoectomy.
Acting on root issues as soon as they are detected is your best defense against infection and tooth loss. For more tips on keeping teeth healthy or for questions about apicoectomies, contact our office.
Primary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.
In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.
Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.
After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.
There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:
Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
Practice healthy nutrition in your home
Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums
Root canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.
Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:
Deep tooth decay
Chip or crack in tooth structure
Tooth root fracture
Periodontal (gum) disease
Repeated treatment on a single tooth
Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.
Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.
After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.
Saving a Tooth with a Root Canal FAQs
How Does a Root Canal Help Save the Tooth?
Endodontic treatment, commonly knowns as a root canal, is a procedure in which your dentist removes the infected or inflamed pulp tissue from within your tooth’s root. This pulp tissue contains the nerves and blood vessels that support the tooth. After the infected or inflamed pulp tissue is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection or inflammation. This procedure is done to save your natural tooth and can help prevent tooth loss.
The endodontic treatment procedure is performed in multiple stages. First, your dentist will access the infected or inflamed pulp tissue by drilling into the tooth. Then, your dentist will use special tools to remove the infected or inflamed pulp tissue from the root of the tooth. Once the root is completely cleaned, the area is sealed with a rubber-like material to prevent further infection or inflammation. Finally, your dentist may recommend further restoration to help strengthen the tooth.
Why Not Pull the Tooth Instead of Performing a Root Canal?
In some cases, it may be necessary to remove a tooth due to infection or inflammation. However, if the infection or inflammation can be successfully treated with endodontic treatment, then it is usually recommended to save the natural tooth. This is because removing a tooth can cause a number of problems, including shifting of the remaining teeth, difficulty with eating and speaking, and an increased risk of gum disease. In addition, if the tooth is removed, then it may need to be replaced with a bridge or dental implant, which can be costly.
What Kind of Restoration Will I Need After the Root Canal?
Once the endodontic treatment is complete, your dentist may recommend further restoration to help strengthen the tooth. This may include the placement of a crown, which is a cap that covers the entire surface of the tooth. A crown is usually made of porcelain and is designed to look and feel like your natural tooth. In some cases, a filling may also be used to help restore the strength and structure of the tooth.
What Happens if Tooth Infection or Inflammation Goes Untreated?
If an infection or inflammation in your tooth is left untreated, it may cause a number of problems, including pain, swelling, and difficulty with eating and speaking. In addition, an untreated infection or inflammation can spread to other teeth and even to other parts of your body. If the infection or inflammation is allowed to spread, it can cause serious medical complications, such as sepsis. For this reason, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible if you suspect you may have an infection or inflammation in your tooth.
Endodontic treatment is an effective way to save your natural tooth when it is infected or inflamed. By removing the infected or inflamed pulp tissue and sealing the root, your dentist can help prevent further infection or inflammation and help save your natural tooth. In addition, performing a root canal is usually preferable to removing the tooth, as it can help prevent shifting of the remaining teeth, difficulties with eating and speaking, and an increased risk of gum disease. Finally, one of our dentists may recommend further restoration after the endodontic treatment to help strengthen the tooth.
Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.
According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are three major misconceptions many people have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Take a look at these myths and truths behind this important treatment option shared by our 33308 dentist.
Myth 1: Root canal treatment causes pain.
This commonly held perception predates modern dentistry. Patients who have actually experienced root canal therapy are 6 times more likely to describe the procedure as painless than those who have never had the treatment.
Truth 1: Root canal treatment relieves pain.
In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.
Myth 2: Root canal treatment causes further illness or infection in the body.
This unfortunate belief stems from a long-discredited report from nearly 100 years ago that still turns up during internet searches. This report by Dr. Weston Price was highly criticized in its own time for the sub-standard research methods he used, and his conclusions were being debunked as early as the 1930s.
Truth 2: There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that suggests root canal treatment may cause other illness or infection in the body.
In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less trauma to the patient. Recent research has also found that patients who have had multiple root canal treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.
Myth 3: Tooth extraction is always a better option than root canal treatment.
There is no perfect replacement for a natural tooth. Even the best tooth replacement options may leave you needing to avoid certain foods. Additionally, missing teeth can lead to jaw bone resorption over time, adding further complication to oral health care.
Truth 3: Saving natural teeth, when possible, is the best option for overall health.
By saving the natural tooth, patients avoid the need for further, more costly restoration treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.
Whenever possible, your doctor should make every effort to preserve your natural teeth. If you are advised to have an extraction, ask if root canal treatment is an option. Don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to an endodontist if you want a second opinion. Endodontists have at least 2 years of specialized training in tooth preservation, in addition to their dental degree.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans are currently taking prescription medications and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements. Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health. Always let us know if you are taking any medicines or supplements and if those have changed since your last visit.
Here are some common side effects of medications that can impact your oral health:
Abnormal Bleeding Blood thinning and reduced clotting accompany the use of some medications. This can cause problems with excessive bleeding during treatments for periodontal disease or oral surgery. Your dentist needs to know if you are taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment that may involve bleeding.
Dry Mouth Many medications can cause reduced saliva production. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.
Fungal Infection Oral Candidiasis is an oral fungal infection that can affect those who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler.
Gum Tissue Enlargement Overgrowth or enlargement of gum tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. Patients with this condition need to give special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation or decay.
Soft Tissue Reactions Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate your discomfort.
Tooth Decay While tooth decay is not directly a side effect of medication, several types of medicines use sugar to improve the flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, and lozenge forms. When these are taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the patient more likely to develop tooth decay. When possible, select sugar-free versions of medications, take with meals, or rinse your mouth after taking a sugared medicine.
Severe tooth decay can lead to the need for Endodontic treatment, such as a root canal, and can even lead to tooth loss. If you have concerns about your medications, contact your dentist immediately.
According to a 2014 report by the American Association of Endodontists, 54 percent of people surveyed said, “root canals make them apprehensive.” Our dentist in Fort Lauderdale understands that many patients feel nervous prior to treatment. However, root canal treatment can greatly improve your oral health and comfort. Here are some of the advantages to undergoing root canal therapy.
The toothache will go away
Have you been suffering with a toothache due to infected roots? Root canal therapy can help eliminate discomfort and pain. Root canal therapy will allow you to live your life comfortably without the need for painkilling medication.
Therapy can save a tooth
Root canal therapy can save a tooth that is badly damaged from infection that would otherwise need to be extracted. It can also improve the appearance of your smile because a dental crown is placed on top of the tooth, offering a healthy and attractive appearance. Our team may be able to help you retain your natural teeth through root canal therapy.
Prevent the spread of infection
During treatment, the entire area surrounding the infected tooth is cleaned. This can prevent the spread of the infection. Ignoring an infection can cause bacteria to spread to healthy teeth and your gums. By limiting the spread of infection, you will save yourself time and money from having to deal with additional and costly dental work.
Our team is experienced in root canal therapy is a similar experience to having a filling placed. Our team is experienced in performing root canals and have undergone specialized training to do so. Your comfort and safety always come first in our office.
Root canal therapy can improve the quality of your life by limiting the spread of infection, saving your natural teeth, and reducing recurring toothaches. Prior to treatment, our team will answer any questions you might have about the procedure.
Brushing your teeth is a vital step in maintaining good oral health. However, is there such a thing as over-brushing?
The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. People sometimes brush after every meal, or brush midday to freshen up. Although this is not always a bad thing, when you start brushing too much or for too long, you can ultimately damage your teeth.
Brushing more than three times a day, and for longer than 2 minutes, can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down as well as cause damage to your gums. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and helps fight against tooth decay. Over-brushing can damage this shield and cause teeth to become sensitive and prone to cavities.
Practicing proper oral hygiene care at home is an important part of your overall oral health. However, being aware of how much is too much is equally important in keeping your smile healthy.
Using the right kind of toothbrush helps prevent unnecessary enamel erosion. It is recommended you use a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal of Acceptance shows that:
All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth.
Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges (a soft-bristled toothbrush helps prevent the wearing down of enamel).
The toothbrush can be used to provide a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque.
You may be unaware of how your oral health can be an indicator of your overall health. The warning signs of systemic health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, can often be found by during a routine examination at our dental office. You may be surprised to find out that hypertension (high blood pressure) may also be linked to your oral health habits.
A recent study published in the Journal of Periodontology found by our 33308 dentist suggests that there is a link between oral hygiene and high blood pressure, based on the results of almost 20,000 adults surveyed in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). It was found that individuals with poor oral hygiene habits, such as infrequent brushing of teeth, were more likely to suffer from hypertension. Individuals that brushed their teeth more than once daily and also utilized other oral health products such as floss or mouthwash were less likely to suffer from hypertension. The study concluded that maintaining good oral hygiene habits may help prevent or control high blood pressure.
Good oral hygiene is essential to a healthy life and regular dental visits are important in maintaining good oral health. Contact our Fort Lauderdale, FL dental office to schedule your appointment for an examination and cleaning.