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Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment

Jay Sung, DDS endodontist

Education

  • Residency in Endodontics, University of Southern California Endodontics, 1992
  • Doctorate of Dental Surgery – University of Southern California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, May 1991
  • B.S. General Biology – University of California, Los Angeles, June 1986

More about Root Canals:

Root canal treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent re-infection of the tooth and save the natural tooth. When undergoing a root canal, inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed. Inside the tooth, beneath the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, which help grow the root of your tooth during its development. A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

Retreatment Procedure

With proper care, you’ll keep teeth that have had root canal treatment for a lifetime but it’s possible for those teeth to heal improperly, becoming painful or diseased months or even years after treatment. If this happens to your treated teeth you have a second chance to save the tooth with retreatment. An additional procedure may be able to diminish dental pain or discomfort and promote healing. As with any dental or medical procedure, it’s possible your tooth won’t heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons, including:

Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.

Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.

  • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
  • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.

A new problem can also jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated, such as:

  • New decay can expose the root canal filling material to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
  • The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
  • A tooth sustains a fracture. During retreatment, the endodontist will reopen your tooth and remove the filling materials that were placed in the root canals during the first procedure, then remove any infection, cleans and shapes the canals, and places new filling materials. The opening is then sealed with a temporary filling. Once the tooth heals, which may require more than one visit, a new crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it.

Endodontic Surgery (Apicoectomy)

Endodontic surgery can be used to locate small fractures or hidden canals previously undetected on X-rays during the initial treatment. Surgery may also be needed to remove calcium deposits in root canals, or to treat damaged root surfaces or the surrounding bone of the tooth.

There are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth. The most common is called an apicoectomy, or root-end resection, which may be needed when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of the tooth after a root canal procedure. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the end of the root canal and a few stitches or sutures are placed to help the tissue heal. In the next few months, the bone will heal around the end of the root.