Endodontic (Root Canal)
What is a Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment usually involves the removal of the tooth’s pulp, a small, thread-like tissue that is important for tooth development. Once removed, it is replaced with materials that seal off the root. Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal (endodontic) treatment enables dentists to save many teeth that otherwise would be lost.
What causes periodontal diseases?
Plaque is a mostly invisible film of bacteria that clings to teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque cause irritation of the tissues that support your teeth. This irritation can lead to chronic inflammation and infection that can destroy your gum and bone tissue.
Plaque that is not completely removed may harden (calcify) into a rough, porous deposit called tartar. Tartar by itself does not seem to cause disease, but it typically makes it more difficult to remove plaque that can thrive on, in or near the tartar. The only way to limit the disease-causing effects of tartar is to have your teeth cleaned regularly at the dental office.
Diagnosing Periodontal Diseases
If you schedule regular dental checkups, your dentist can detect developing periodontal diseases before the gums and the bone supporting your teeth are irreversibly damaged. Periodontal diseases are progressive, and left untreated, the condition will become worse.
Prevention and Treatment
Prevention is your first line of defense. This includes a good daily oral hygiene routine at home. Brushing twice a day with flouride toothpaste and cleaning between teeth once a day with floss or an interdental cleaner helps prevent plaque from forming. The dental office staff may provide instructions on additional cleaning methods or may recommend oral hygiene products to use a home.
Scaling and root planing is a method of treating periodontal disease when pockets are greater than 3mm. Scaling is used to remove plaque and tartar beneath the gumline. A local anesthetic may be given to reduce any discomfort. Using an instrument called a small scaler or an ultrasonic cleaner, plaque and tartar are carefully removed down to the bottom of each periodontal pocket. The tooth’s root surfaces are then smoothed or planed. This procedure allows the gum tissue to heal. The procedure also makes it more difficult for plaque to accumulate along the root surfaces. Depending on the extent of the disease, your dentist may recommend that one or more sections (quadrants) of the mouth be treated with scaling and root planing. Treatment requires more than one visit.