Endodontics

Highly skilled endodontics in Edwardsville, IL

Despite the many remarkable advances in prosthodontics in recent years, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for your own natural teeth. Historically speaking, a tooth with a diseased nerve would have to be extracted, necessitating implants, dentures or other artificial solutions. Luckily, modern endodontics (the Greek literally translates to "inside the tooth"), more commonly known as a root canal, are more effective than ever at removing decay and preserving your tooth relatively painlessly. Dr. Moody at Edwardsville Family Dentist is extremely skilled and experienced in performing these procedures, so you can rest easier knowing that your smile is in good hands.

Reasons for endodontic treatment

There are many ways your tooth may become damaged to the point where a root canal is necessary. The most common problem is oral bacteria invading the pulp of the tooth through tiny fissures cause by decay or injury. Abscesses often form, and essentially cause the tooth to rot from the inside out. More severe fractures and chips on the surface or crown of the tooth will also leave the pulp beneath exposed to these bacteria. Blunt force trauma that dislodge the tooth from the socket similarly invites infection. 

You may need a root canal if you experience any of the following: an abscess (or pimple) on the gums, sensitivity to heat and cold, severe toothaches, swelling or tenderness. However, sometimes no symptoms of an infected root are present, which is why it is so important to schedule routine checkups with your dentist who can check for signs that you cannot detect on your own. 

How do root canals work?

Gone are the days that a root canal necessarily meant a pain-filled procedure. Once it is determined that a root canal is necessary, modern local anesthetics are apply to make the tooth numb. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, allowing access to the problematic interior. The infected pulp, nerve tissue, bacteria and any decay that is present are then carefully removed using handheld instruments. The newly vacated space is then filled with a biocompatible material known as gutta-percha, which is somewhat similar to rubber. The tooth is then sealed with a permanent filling (or a crown when necessary), or a temporary one if multiple visits are required. 

Fixing cracked teeth

There are many different types of cracked teeth. Some can only be exposed using X-ray machines, while others are clearly visible to the naked eye. In cases where the tooth root is affected, root canal therapy is the most viable treatment option. The pulp, nerves, and vessels of the tooth will be removed, and the resulting space will be filled with gutta-percha. A crown or filling will be added to stabilize the tooth, and it will continue to function as normal.

When the crack is too severe for the tooth to be saved, the dentist will perform an extraction. There are a number of restorative options in this case, such as bridges, dental implants and partial dentures. All of these structures can restore biting, chewing, and speaking functions.
For gentle endodontic solutions, call (618) 659-0456.
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