or your convenience, we have both an endodontist and periodontist on our staff. They work as a team with our general and cosmetic dentists to develop and execute treatment plans that will restore your oral health.
Contrary to general perception, root canal therapy is a painless procedure that saves your natural tooth structure, allowing your dentist to place a crown on that tooth.
The space inside the tooth from the center, known as the pulp chamber, that travels down the length of the root to the tip (or apex) is called a “canal,” or more specifically, a root canal. Human teeth may have one to four root canals, depending on the anatomy of the tooth.
The tiny canals contain the pulp of the tooth also commonly referred to as the nerve, which originates from the pulp chamber. Any trauma or infection of the nerve will result in the need for root canal therapy. Common reasons for root canal therapy include:
- Tooth decay invades the tooth, penetrating through the enamel and then the dentin in to the pulp.
- A tooth has become abscessed (infected) from decay.
- Trauma, such as a chipped or broken tooth, occurs and results in the exposure of the nerve.
- A tooth that is slowly dying due to aging or past trauma.
The endodontist will begin your appointment by giving you local anesthetic to “numb” the tooth that is being worked on. A small hole will be drilled into the tooth that allows the endodontist to remove the nerve from the tooth before sealing it with a special gutta percha material. At this point you are ready to return to your dentist to have a impressions of the tooth made so that a permanent crown can be made by our dental lab. A temporary crown crafted by your dentist will bridge the period of time until your permanent crown can be placed in your mouth.
Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.
Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.
Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed.
Your periodontist can address these types of issues with surgical and non-surgical methods. In addition, you will be instructed how to care for your restored gums.
The periodontist is part of our dental implant team. He will place a post in the bone where a tooth is missing, onto which your dentist will affix a permanent crown.
Warning Signs of Gum Disease
Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, warning signs of periodontal disease include the following:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
- Loose or separating teeth
- Puss between your gums and teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistently bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- A change in the fit of partial dentures