There is a week in May that is dedicated to the awareness of root canals. Over the last several decades, the field of endodontics has advanced so much, yet it still has a ways to go as well, especially when you consider the way it is currently perceives among dental professionals and patients.
The American Association of Endodontists say that endodontists are “The Superheroes of Saving Teeth,” and in a sense, this is so true. In a study across the nation of over one million teeth that had undergone a root canal procedure, 97 percent of those teeth were still properly functioning eight years down the road. The authors of the study concluded that the root canal treatment is predictable that allows patients to keep their teeth.
However, many patients and some dental professionals say that teeth that need a root canal procedure are simply not worth saving. Instead, they say that dental implants are the more suitable option. However, recent research shows that dental implants can result in complications in the long-term. Ultimately, it is better to maintain the health of a tooth for as long as possible prior to resorting to implants.
Kudos to the AAE for dedicating a week once annually to celebrate the work of all endodontists and to raise awareness for the importance of root canal treatments. Myths and unfounded fear continue to keep patients from enjoying healthy and properly functioning teeth for years.
There are multiple endodontic procedures that are designed specifically to alleviate the pain that you are experiencing and prevent further infection from occurring of the jawbone while also maintaining tooth function. In order to make a proper diagnosis and perform treatment, the following are necessary:
Similar to other dentistry fields, the last couple of decades have seen a whirlwind of advancement in techniques and tools related to endodontics. It started with the adoption of apex locators and rotary instruments and then continued with the extensive use of dental operating microscopes in an effort to obtain more predictable results and higher magnification.
Our dental clinic has been revolutionized by the utilization of 3D scanning and Cone Beam Computed Technology (CBCT). This technology allows dental clinics to evaluate the anatomy of the root canal and associated structure in 3D. With this technology, we are able to better understand the basis of pathology and more accurately determine how to treat patients. A recent survey from the AAE showed that almost 50 percent of all endodontists have a CBCT machine inside their clinics and 80 percent have access to one.
One of the more common myths regarding root canals is that they are incredibly painful. However, this has not be true for many decades. In fact, thanks to root canal procedures, the source of pain that you are experiencing is actually removed.
Today, root canals are virtually pain-free. Thanks to the application of anesthesia and modern instruments, patients can expect virtually no pain or discomfort when undergoing a root canal procedure. Of course, as with any kind of surgical procedure, it is expected to experience some level of discomfort or pain after the procedure, which can be controlled with pain medication and will gradually subside within the week.
Where did it come from that root canals aren’t predictable and teeth that are treated endodontically can lose their function quickly? It may be that dental professionals fail to restore the teeth adequately following the root canal treatment.
As previously mentioned, 97 percent of teeth that have received a root canal are still functioning after eight years. 85 percent of teeth that are extracted haven’t been restored permanently.
Following root canals, patients need to be familiar with the fact that teeth tend to require a full coverage restoration, such as a crown, in order to protect them from additional damage. If a tooth is left unrestored, the tooth could fracture or be lost prematurely.
In addition, the time period between completing the root canal and receiving the restoration is crucial. One study has shown that waiting over two months following the root canal without placing a restoration can drastically impact the rate of survivability of the tooth.
Regular follow-up appointments are necessary following the root canal to make certain the tooth is healthy, free from disease, and properly functioning. These appointments are usually short and of no charge.
Finally, it is important for patients to understand that the best way for endodontic problems to be treated is to simply prevent them to begin with. Dental professionals are able to maintain a tooth’s vitality and potentially avoid root canals entirely with early screenings.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Fountain of Youth Dental.