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CORPUS CHRISTI ENDODONTICS

Corpus Christi, TX

 

General Information

What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who receive two or more years of advanced education. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many patient centric dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

Endodontists specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy procedures. This involves a careful diagnosis and treatment plan.  An endodontist treats diseases of the dental pulp (the soft inner tissue of the tooth), the tooth root, and surrounding tisues.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

 

What Happens During Endodontic Treatment? or What is a Root Canal?

  First and foremost a diagnosis will be made followed by a treatment plan and informed consent. 

  Subsequently, a local anesthetic will be given to "numb" the area. Standard of care dictates the use of the dental dam. This is a sheet of latex (non-latex is also available) that is placed around the tooth to isolate it.  It keeps the tooth clean and dry during treatment. And keeps your mouth free of all debris, patients usually love this!

  Root Canal Treatment begins by initiating a small access opening in the chewing surface of the tooth.  We try very hard to conserve all sound tooth structure and usually adjust our access to any area with decayed or man-made materials, these can be replaced. Sound dentin- or solid tooth structure- can never be replaced.

The access opening allows us to reach the pulp chamber and the canals of the roots (root canals, sound familiar?).

All soft (inorganic) tissue and bacterial load must be removed/reduced from this space.  This is managed by using endodontic files, as well as ultrasonic instruments in conjunction with various endodontic solutions.

The chamber and root canal space is cleaned, shaped, and sealed.  At times, it may be necessary to medicate the tooth before obturating. Obturation is the filling and sealing of the canals, chamber, and access opening.

The number of visits will depend on your particular case.  Most treatments take 2 visits, but many are just a single visit.  Occasionally, more appointments are needed.

Ours is a patient centered office.  We do not complete treatment until symptoms resolve,ie, draining abscesses healed.  Sometimes the treatment plan must be revisited and alternatives considered, ie, surgery or extraction. 

In any case, it depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty.  To me, it's more important to do it the very best we can than to meet a specific time criteria. 

There are, of course, no guarantees. However, initial root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success.  Teeth which can be treated conservatively and with quality have a success rate of over ninety percent.  We will discuss with you the prognosis and any potential pitfalls before any endodontic procedure- to help you make an informed decision of what is best for you, the patient.

Diagnoses and Treats Pain

Oral pain from cracked teeth or teeth with degenerating pulps is often difficult to pinpoint.  This pain, from a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt, or referred to another site even to a healthy tooth.  Tooth pain also radiates to the head and neck, and frequently manifests as an earache. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

Retreatment

Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal, or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When these situations occur, we try to ascertain the etiology and correct the cause. Many times the tooth can be saved with a second endodontic treatment, or retreatment.  The idea is the same as initial endodontic therapy but may be more complex due to damage from previous treatment or sequlae from infection. Consultation is required in all retreatment cases in order to present a diagnosis and options for treatment.