Village Family Dental Office

Torrance, CA 90502

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Root Canals

Root Canal Therapy Torrance, CA

Endodontic therapy, also known as endodontic treatment or root canal therapy, is a treatment sequence for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.

Root canals, and their associated pulp chamber, are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. Together, these items constitute the dental pulp. Endodontic therapy involves the removal of these structures, the subsequent shaping, cleaning, and decontamination of the hollows with small files and irrigating solutions, and the obturation (filling) of the decontaminated canals.

Filling of the cleaned and decontaminated canals is done with an inert filling such as gutta-percha and typically a eugenol-based cement.  Epoxy resin is employed to bind gutta-percha in some root canal procedures.  Endodontics includes both primary and secondary endodontic treatments as well as periradicular surgery which is generally used for teeth that still have potential for salvage.

Diagnostic and preparation

Before endodontic therapy is carried out, a correct diagnosis of the dental pulp and the surrounding periapical tissues is required. This allows the endodontist to choose the most appropriate treatment option, allowing preservation and longevity of the tooth and surrounding tissues. Treatment options for an irreversibly inflamed pulp (irreversible pulpitis) include either extraction of the tooth or removal of the pulp.

Removing the infected/inflamed pulpal tissue enables the endodontist to help preserve the longevity and function of the tooth. The treatment option chosen involves taking into account the expected prognosis of the tooth, as well as the patient’s wishes. A full history is required (which includes the patient’s symptoms and medical history), along with a clinical examination (both inside and outside the mouth), and the use of diagnostic tests [9]

There are several diagnostic tests that can aid in the diagnosis of the dental pulp and the surrounding tissues. These include:

-Palpation (this is where the tip of the root is felt from the overlying tissues to see if there is any swelling or tenderness present)
-Mobility (this is assessing if there is more than normal movement of the tooth in the socket)
-Percussion (TTP, tender to percussion; the tooth is tapped to see if there is any tenderness)
-Transillumination (shining a light through the tooth to see if there are any noticeable fractures)
-Tooth slooth (this is where the patient is asked to bite down upon a plastic instrument; useful if the patient complains of pain on biting as this can be used to localise the tooth)
-Radiographs
-Dental pulp tests

In the situation that a tooth is considered so threatened (because of decay, cracking, etc.) that future infection is considered likely or inevitable, a pulpectomy (removal of the pulp tissue) is advisable to prevent such infection. Usually, some inflammation and/or infection is already present within or below the tooth. To cure the infection and save the tooth, the dentist drills into the pulp chamber and removes the infected pulp and then drills the nerve out of the root canal(s) with long needle-shaped hand instruments known as files (H files and K files).

While a root canal can be painful, the experts at the Village Family Dental Office make sure that your root canal procedure as pain-free as possible. Root canals are successful about 90% of the time when they are done properly. Teeth that have had root canals can become brittle and are susceptible to fracture. TO match teeth, it is advisable to have a dental crown placed over a tooth that has had root canal to rebuild and protect it.

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Village Family Dental Office

Dr. Michael Papadopoulos, D.D.S.
310-530-9656 Torrance, CA