ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity reaches all the way to the pulp. Deep restorations or trauma to a tooth also may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone, forming an abcess. By the time the pulp is infected, it must be treated, as it cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent, and the person is unaware of any problems until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown in recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
Crowns are full coverage restorations taht are used to cover a tooth that is likely to break, or is too broken down to be restored with a filling. They are most commonly done after root canal treatment, or when a large filling wears out. The larger the hole made by a cavity that has to be treated, the more likely a crown will be needed. Even after a filling is put in a large cavity, a tooth is more likely to break. Crowns ride over the weakened tooth, providing strength and protecting the tooth against breakage.
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or aesthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and, with one missing, they start to "fall." As this worsens, the bite changes in repsonse to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw (e.g. TMJ) The surrounding teeth deteriorate, and it is just a matter of time before they, too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.
There are different types of dentures, but they share their common function. They replace teeth that have become loose or been lost due to bone loss. The entire mouth is examined, and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed and which will remain. The loose teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on teh type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, and it can take some getting used to. But once accustomed to the dentures, all normal functionality and appearance returns. Often implants can be used to further stabilize the dentures.
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has advantages over bridges, because it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the saft. Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge.
We also offer mini dental implants. These implants are about half the diameter of traditional implants and are used mainly to stabilize lower dentures. These implants can be placed in one appointment and be immediately used. The cost is 50-70% of standard dental implants.