How can I keep my mouth healthy?

It is important to do your part in keeping your mouth healthy in all stages of life. The essentials to keeping your mouth and teeth healthy change with every age and life stage. Keep yourself informed on the best ways to do so by visiting MouthHealthy, an informative and interactive website created by the American Dental Association for patients of any age!

What is Waterlase dental laser?

We use a safe and comfortable alternative to traditional dental tools. Using a laser and water spray called Waterlase by Biolase©, we are able to ease the fears and discomfort of many routine dental procedures. Who likes the sound of drills? The WaterLase combines water, air and laser energy for safe use on human tissue in the mouth. Our teeth are partially made up of water and when the laser makes contact with the tooth it excites the water molecules to cut through the tooth. Since the laser continuously sprays out water it keeps the tooth hydrated preventing heat and giving you a virtually pain free experience! Learn more.

What are available types of treatments and procedures?

There are many different types of treatments and procedures available within the scope of Endodontistry. Some of these treatments are listed below. Click on each treatment option to learn more.

The goal is always to save your natural tooth as much as possible, since nothing else functions or feels like your own tooth. Learn about the different options available and discuss with Dr. Hahn which treatment might be right for you.

What are some common dental symptoms?

Even with proper brushing and flossing habits, and regular dental checkups, you can have problems with your teeth and gums. Tooth pain, injury, increased sensitivity to hot or cold, and oral or facial swelling are just some of the signs of potential dental problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms call us right away to schedule an appointment. Source

Why Choose an Endodontist?

Performing an average of 25 root canal treatments per week, endodontists have more experience than general dentists. They also limit their practice solely to endodontic treatment, making them efficient and precise which leads to positive patient experiences and expedited healing time. Many endodontists also use state-of-the-art technology such as operating microscopes, digital imaging, ultrasonic instrumentation and fiber optics, to treat their patients quickly and comfortably. Source

Patient Care Instructions Following Endodontic Surgery

  1. Avoid strenuous exercise for the remainder of the day. Smoking and alcohol consumption delay wound healing and should be avoided for 3 days following surgery. Physical exertion or heavy lifting should not be performed for 7 to 10 days after your surgery.
  2. Apply an ice pack with firm pressure to your face directly over the surgical site. You should apply the ice pack alternately 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 6 to 8 hours following your surgery. After 8 hours, the ice bag should not be applied. Frequent moist heat applications to your face are recommended on the second and third post surgical days. To make an ice pack, fill one half of a zip lock bag with water and the rest with 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, seal and then freeze.
  3. Slight swelling and facial skin discoloration (bruising) may appear following surgery and will gradually disappear in a few days. Some oozing of blood from the surgical site is normal during the day and evening following the surgery. If actual bleeding occurs, please call the office.
  4. Avoid manipulation of your facial tissues as much as possible. Do NOT raise your lip or retract your cheeks to look at the surgical site. Try to sleep on your back or away from the side on which your surgery was done. It is possible to tear loose the stitches accidentally, which will open the incision and substantially delay wound healing.
  5. Please make sure to maintain an adequate diet during the first 3 to 4 days following your surgery. Eat a soft or liquid diet such as nutritional supplements, mashed potatoes, pureed meats, cooked eggs, fruit juices, soups, etc. Avoid crunchy, hard or chewy foods such as crackers, toast, steak and the like until the sutures has been removed. Drink plenty of liquids.
  6. Post surgical discomfort should be minimal after the second day but the surgical site may remain tender and sore for 4 to 5 days following your surgery. Please have your prescriptions filled as soon as possible and follow the directions on the labels. If you develop any unusual reactions (itching, rash, breathing difficulties, etc.), please stop taking the medication and call the office immediately.
  7. Do NOT brush the surgical site for at least 10 days following the surgery. Do brush other parts of your mouth and use a warm salt rinse, if desired, after meals. (1/4 to ½ teaspoon salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water). Rinse with Peridex as directed beginning on the day after surgery.
  8. Rest as much as possible the first 24 hours. Elevate your head with at least two pillows when lying or at bedtime. Sleep on your back or away from the surgical site.
  9. The sutures (stitches) should be removed in 3 to 7 days to ensure proper healing. Make sure to return at the appointed time for removal.
  10. Recall visits are necessary. These are short appointments that are very important to monitor the progress of healing. Recall appointments will be scheduled during the first few weeks following surgery and another appointment 6 months after surgery.

What is an Apicoectomy?

apicoectomyIn this procedure, the endodontist opens the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed.

 

 

sutureA small filling may be placed to seal the end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures are placed in the gum to help the tissue heal properly.

 

 

 

bone-healingOver a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root.

Why Endodontic Surgery Is Needed

Surgery can help save your tooth in a variety of situations:

Surgery may be used in diagnosis. If you have persistent symptoms but no problems appear on your x-ray, your tooth may have a tiny fracture or canal that could not be detected during nonsurgical treatment. In such a case, surgery allows your endodontist to examine the root of your tooth, find the problem, and provide treatment.

Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the cleaning and shaping instruments used in nonsurgical root canal treatment to reach the end of the root. If your tooth has this “calcification,” your endodontist may perform endodontic surgery to clean and seal the remainder of the canal.

Usually, a tooth that has undergone a root canal can last the rest of your life and never need further endodontic treatment. However, in a few cases, a tooth may fail to heal. The tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. If this is true for you, surgery may help save your tooth.

Surgery may also be performed to treat damaged root surfaces or surrounding bone.

surgeryAlthough there are many surgical procedures that can be performed to save a tooth, the most common is called apicoectomy or root-end resection. Your endodontist may have to perform an apicoectomy when inflammation or infection persists in the bony area around the end of your tooth after a root canal procedure.

What are the alternatives to retreatment?

For some patients considering retreatment, endodontic surgery is also an option. This surgery involves making an incision near the end of the root to allow the tip of the root to be sealed. Endodontic surgery may be recommended in conjunction with retreatment or as an alternative. Your endodontist will discuss these options and recommend appropriate treatment.

Sometimes, the only other alternative is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These options can be far more costly and time consuming than retreatment and restoration of the natural tooth because extensive surgery or dental surgery on adjacent teeth could be required.

No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is as good as your natural tooth. You’ve already made an investment in saving your tooth. The payoff for choosing retreatment could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for many years to come.

How much will the procedure cost?

The cost varies depending on how complicated the procedure might be due to some different factors. The procedure will probably be more complex than your first root canal treatment, because your restoration and filling material may need to be removed to accomplish the new procedure. In addition, your endodontist may need to spend extra time searching for unusual canal anatomy. Therefore, you can generally expect retreatment to cost more than the initial endodontic treatment.

While dental insurance may cover part or all of the cost for retreatment, some policies limit coverage to a single procedure on a tooth in a given period of time. Check with your employer or insurance company prior to treatment to be sure of your coverage.