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What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

How is a root canal performed?

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.

Our office provides a variety of a periodontal procedures using laser technology, such as a frenectomy, osseous surgery, and gum grafting. Our periodantist is able to use state of the art technology as a way to regenerate healthy gums and remove diseases areas in a virtually painless way.

You and Dr. Kakos may determine that you need a tooth extraction for any number of reasons. Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease, or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted teeth), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.

The removal of a single tooth can lead to problems related to your chewing ability, problems with your jaw joint, and shifting teeth, which can have a major impact on your dental health.

To avoid these complications, in most cases, Dr. Kakos will discuss alternatives to extractions as well as replacement of the extracted tooth.

The Extraction Process

At the time of extraction the doctor will need to numb your tooth, jawbone and gums that surround the area with a local anesthetic.

During the extraction process you will feel a lot of pressure. This is from the process of firmly rocking the tooth in order to widen the socket for removal.

You feel the pressure without pain as the anesthetic has numbed the nerves stopping the transference of pain, yet the nerves that transmit pressure are not profoundly affected.

If you do feel pain at any time during the extraction please let us know right away.

Sectioning a tooth

Some teeth require sectioning. This is a very common procedure done when a tooth is so firmly anchored in its socket or the root is curved and the socket can’t expand enough to remove it. The doctor simply cuts the tooth into sections then removes each section one at a time.

After Tooth Extraction

After tooth extraction, it’s important for a blood clot to form to stop the bleeding and begin the healing process. Bite on a gauze pad for 30-45 minutes immediately after the appointment. If the bleeding or oozing still persists, place another gauze pad and bite firmly for another 30 minutes. You may have to do this several times to staunch the flow of blood.

After the blood clot forms it is important to not disturb or dislodge the clot. Do not rinse vigorously, suck on straws, smoke, drink alcohol or brush teeth next to the extraction site for 72 hours. These activities may dislodge or dissolve the clot and hinder the healing process. Limit vigorous exercise for the next 24 hours, as this increases blood pressure and may cause more bleeding from the extraction site.

After the tooth is extracted you may feel some pain and experience some swelling. An ice pack or an unopened bag of frozen peas or corn applied to the area will keep swelling to a minimum. Take pain medications as prescribed. The swelling usually subsides after 48 hours.

Use pain medication as directed. Call our office if the medication doesn’t seem to be working. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time even if signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious, soft food on the day of the extraction. You can eat normally as soon as you are comfortable.

It is important to resume your normal dental routine after 24 hours. This should include brushing and flossing your teeth at least once a day. This will speed healing and help keep your mouth fresh and clean.

After a few days you should feel fine and can resume your normal activities. If you have heavy bleeding, severe pain, continued swelling for 2-3 days, or a reaction to the medication, call our office immediately.

Most dentistry looks like dentistry. Our goal is to provide dentistry that is undetectable. We replace existing crowns and fillings with restorations that look and feel like your natural teeth.

Where damage to a person’s teeth is extreme, and apparently beyond repair, we can use porcelain or porcelain "pasted on gold" crowns to make the smile appear "as new". This is an extremely reliable technique for repairing the most severe of dental problems, even permanently replacing missing teeth to offer a complete smile and a functional bite. We are renowned for the quality of our work and the fantastic changes we make for people using this technology. These treatments are used for a long-lasting correction of major dental problems. It is usual for these treatments to last for 20 to 30 years, which is as close to permanent as dental treatment can get.

How long does it take to fit a dental crown?

Fitting a crown requires at least two visits to our office. Initially, we will remove decay, shape the tooth, and fit it with a temporary crown of either plastic or metal.

On the subsequent visit we will remove the temporary crown, and then fit and adjust the final crown. Finally, we will cement the crown into place and you have a new beautiful looking tooth.

Key Benefits of Dental Crowns

  • Replaces missing teeth
  • Offers support to misshapen teeth or badly broken teeth
  • Looks completely natural
  • Fixes "smile" and functional chewing problems

What are the capabilities of crowns?

Crown and bridgework is a very reliable solution for major dental problems caused through accidents, diseases or wear and tear. Major problems can usually be corrected using these techniques. Material used in these repairs is either high-grade porcelain, or porcelain bonded to gold. A higher strength of the porcelain and gold materials is recommended to treat the most serious of dental problems. Where accidental damage has occurred, resulting in lost teeth, or where teeth have broken away through excessive wear, or as the result of old fillings breaking, crowns and/or bridges can be used as a long-term solution.

Many people have unexplained pain from filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth relieves the pain and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth. In front teeth, older fillings can both weaken the teeth and cause "appearance" problems due to staining or chipping. Porcelain crowns and bridges are suitable in cases where porcelain veneers are not. In teeth with root canal fillings, crowns can prevent breakage.