Specializing in endodontics Houston Galleria area patients know Dr. Ali Daneshmand can perform root canal retreatment, cracked tooth, and root amputation procedures. Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth,” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves and arterioles.
Endodontics—derived from the Greek roots endo- (meaning “inside”) and odont- (meaning “tooth”—studies, diagnoses, prevents and treats diseases and injuries to dental pulp. This pulp is found in the center of teeth and is made up of blood vessels, connective tissue and large nerves that nourish teeth. Endodontic dentistry also focuses on periradicular conditions such as tooth decay, abscesses and cysts. These conditions are caused by bacterial infection of the dental pulp, resulting in tooth and gum inflammation and pain.
The field of endodontics is one of nine dental specialities formally recognized by the American Dental Association. An endodontist must complete at least two years of additional dental training to become qualified. Over 90% of endodontists belong to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). According to the AAE, endodontists represent less than three percent of all practicing dentists, which demonstrates the level of specialized training they receive. Endodontic specialists are called upon to investigate and diagnose cases of extreme tooth pain and to perform such delicate procedures as root canal treatment.
Endodontic Signs and Symptoms
Endodontists are skilled specialists who are able to detect and treat the root causes of tooth pain. In many cases, a natural tooth undergoing endodontic treatment can be saved by extracting the infected pulp and sealing the gap with a crown that seamlessly integrates with the remaining tooth portion.
In order to determine whether their services are required, there are several signs and symptoms to look out for. These signs and symptoms of endodontic problems include the following:
- Tooth pain, particularly sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages
- Inflammation of the root or gums (also known as an abscessed tooth)
- Cracked or chipped teeth that results in sharp pain while chewing or biting
- Teeth that get dislodged or loosened during minor or major facial trauma
- Discoloration of teeth resulting from unhealthy dental pulp or external damage
- Unexplained tenderness or swelling in or around the teeth, gums or lymph nodes
Should a patient exhibit one or more of the above symptoms, it is likely that an endodontist will be called upon to determine the best course of action. An endodontic specialist is uniquely qualified to detect and resolve dental pulp related issues in order to save a patient’s natural teeth. But how and why do dental pulp problems arise in the first place?
Root Causes for Endodontic Treatment
Tooth pain caused by dental decay or injury can be difficult for the person experiencing it. He or she may either feel a sharp, throbbing pain in the area of the teeth and gums, or it may manifest itself as a dull ache. In either case, it can hurt to bite or chew food. The pain may even be so intense that the person can have a hard time concentrating on his or her daily tasks or going to sleep at night.
If a person wants to understand how and why a particular tooth may hurt, he or she should schedule a visit with an endodontist. In the meantime, here are some common reasons one might need endodontic treatment:
Tooth decay – This can manifest itself as an acute, temporary problem or a chronic, long-term issue. A typical symptom would be sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or a sharp pain when biting down. Tooth decay is typically caused by poor dental habits (i.e., brushing and flossing regularly) and/or by a bacterial infection that invades the tooth pulp. Such an infection enters through tiny fissures inside the tooth that’s caused by decay or a collision injury.
Tooth fractures – A person who experiences a blow to the mouth area may be a candidate for endodontic treatment. The trauma from the hit can cause teeth to dislodge from the mouth and/or for teeth to become chipped and fractured. In such cases, a root canal may be required to stabilize the injured tooth or teeth.
Tooth removals – This can occur whether the tooth falls out due to decay, a collision accident or even after recent dental work has been performed. In order to preserve the tooth, it is vital that it be placed in a special dental solution (available in pharmacies) or in milk. From there, the patient should make an endodontist visit as soon as possible in order to have the tooth installed through root canal therapy.
Abscessed tooth – Often caused by severe tooth decay, it results in an infection of the root that manifests itself in extreme pain. Abscesses can also be caused by other factors such as trauma to the teeth or gum disease. Because dental pulp is often damaged by deep decay or physical trauma, an endodontist is uniquely equipped for this sensitive dental issue.
The endodontic procedure process
A root canal procedure that takes place at our Galleria endodontics office is typically completed in one and three visits. Before the procedure begins we will take complete X-rays of the teeth and conduct a full examination before confirming that endodontic therapy is needed.
Prior to the procedure, we will administer a local anesthetic to numb pain and place the patient in a relaxed state. A protective sheet, or dental dam, will be placed over the patient’s chest and torso area in order to ensure that the surgical area is kept sanitary.
During the root canal, the endodontist will first create an opening in the surface of the tooth. Next, the endodontist extracts the infected or inflamed pulp that was the cause of the tooth pain. The inside of the tooth is then carefully cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the opening is shaped, filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is applied to the tooth to ensure that the root canals openings are completely sealed off.
Once the tooth is sealed off, a temporary filling is placed over the tooth in order to restore it to its full functionality. A permanent crown or restoration will be installed during the final visit, thereby completing the root canal process.
Galleria Dental Endodontic Specialists
If you suffer from painful and persistent tooth and gum pain, you can rely on your Houston endodontics experts at Galleria Dental. Dr. Ali Daneshmand and his team of endodontists can perform root canal retreatment, as well as cracked tooth and root amputation procedures.