Who is a candidate for endodontic therapy or root canals in Long Island? Our Suffolk County multi-disciplinary dentists will evaluate each patient on a case by case basis to determine if they qualify for endodontic treatment. But if you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, a root canal may likely be the most effective way to preserve your tooth.
An Abscessed Tooth
Endodontic therapy and abscessed teeth go hand in hand. Abscessed teeth are those with bacterial infections inside of their nerve chambers, with cyst-type lesions around the root tips. We can see these abscesses on diagnostic X-rays, as the visible void looks like a dark circle inside of the bone near the tip of the root.
Some dental abscesses also cause fistulas. Fistulas are pimple-like lesions that pop up along the gums near the root of the affected tooth. They may tend to come and go, occasionally expelling a slightly salty-tasting fluid as they do.
Even though antibiotic therapy is sometimes used alongside root canal treatment, it is not a permanent fix. The medication is used for reducing the extent of the bacterial infection so that the endodontic procedure itself can be performed in a more efficient and comfortable manner. Taking an antibiotic without treating the source of the infection would only result in recurring infections and potential antibiotic resistance.
Signs of Deep Tooth Decay (Require a Root Canal)
Ideally, it’s best to intercept cavities while they’re still in the outermost layers of the tooth. But once decay ruptures through the enamel and into the dentin (the next layer, which isn’t as dense,) it’s simply a matter of time before the decay reaches the nerve of the tooth.
Treatment for tooth decay involves removing the deteriorating areas and filling the void. But when the cavity reaches into the nerve, patching it over will simply block the bacteria inside of the tooth permanently.
If decay is visibly in contact with the nerve chamber, a root canal is the standard of care. Once the diseased nerve is removed and the decay completely cleaned out, the endodontic procedure will be topped off with a crown. Root canal treated teeth tend to need more reinforcement than what a standard filling is capable of offering.
Trauma Causing Tooth Death
From automobile accidents to old baseball injuries, trauma to the mouth is one of the most common causes of tooth death. The surprising characteristic is that symptoms of a necrotic (dying) nerve may not be present for up to several years after the injury occurred. It’s not uncommon for us to see someone 10 years after known oral trauma who is only just beginning to exhibit signs of tooth death.
Oral trauma can potentially dislodge the nerve tissues at the base of the root. The internal nerve then becomes detached and no longer delivers nutrients to the tooth itself. In time, the tooth can take on a darker color than its neighbors. Most “dead teeth” tend to have an underlying brown or grey hue to them.
Severe Pain and Hypersensitivity (Manged by Endodontic Therapy)
Toothaches and other dental emergencies can cause severe pain that prevents you from going about normal activities. Some types of tooth pain are more dull and steady, while others seem sharp and come out of the blue. Excessive sensitivity can even be severe enough that it’s impossible to eat or drink anything.
Such emergencies often require immediate treatment to get you out of pain as quickly as possible. A root canal may be the best course of care if there is evidence of deep tooth damage. Rest assured that other treatment solutions will be reviewed as well. At times, more conservative therapies may be available (such as a filling or periodontal therapy.) Trying to treat the symptoms while delaying a professional evaluation can, unfortunately, cause the underlying issue to worsen even further.
Root Canal for a Cracked Tooth
Cracked teeth can come in a wide variety of severities. Some are more noticeable while others are difficult to diagnose. Cracked tooth syndrome often presents itself as pain when you’re applying pressure, such as biting or chewing. Depending on where the crack is located and how severe it is, a root canal may be the best solution.
By reinforcing the inside of the tooth and eliminating stimuli to the nerve each time you bite down, endodontic treatment allows you to continue eating normally on cracked teeth. Each root canal is completed with a crown for added reinforcement when it comes to everyday biting pressure.
Without treatment, cracked teeth will gradually worsen and potentially abscess. An extraction will eventually be the only solution for long term comfort (in the absence of root canal therapy.)
Determining Endodontic Eligibility
Although it can at times be obvious that a tooth requires a root canal, other times the evidence may be less than obvious. During your exam, we’ll fully evaluate the overall structural integrity of the tooth and any existing dental work. At times, simple temperature or pressure tests can be performed to help us determine if there are more “invisible” types of underlying damage.
One of the most important steps in diagnosing nerve damage is taking a periapical X-ray of the tooth. This single-tooth radiograph captures the entire anatomy of the tooth root and the immediately surrounding structures. As such, we can predict approximately how deep a cavity is reaching, if an abscess is present around the apex of the root, or spot major root fractures.
Once we have all of this necessary information, our Long Island dentists can then diagnose an appropriate care plan. Endodontic therapy may be the best-recommended solution, especially if the goal is to prevent future extraction.
Root Canal Consultation Long Island
Think you may need a root canal? Looking for a second opinion about endodontic treatment? Contact Sachem Dental Group in Suffolk County. Our team of multi-specialty general dentists has over 30 years of experience serving patients in the greater Long Island area. Here, you’re in great hands!
Call today to reserve your next appointment.