I recently attended an advanced endodontics course under renowned endodontist, Dr. John West in San Francisco. The course, which was attended by dentists from around the world, detailed Dr. West’s state-of-the-art technique for performing root canals and taught me a great deal about the art of these procedures.
For many, root canals are an inevitable part of prolonging their teeth’s lifespan. However, the success of these procedures is largely dependent on the dentist’s skill set.
Improving this skill set was my main goal in attending Dr. West’s course and I’m confident that with the knowledge and practice that I have gained, I am better able to address compromised root canal systems.
Addressing this system is where the art side of root canals comes into play.
For those who are unfamiliar, a root canal is performed when the root of the tooth becomes infected and compromises the tooth’s pulp. The procedure, then, addresses the infection and replaces the pulp with an inert material.
Cleaning the interior root system is a complex process, because much like the root system in a tree there are many accessory roots that curve and branch off from the main root. Unfortunately, the tools that are used to clean these systems are not curved, making it difficult to clean the accessory roots.
However, if 100% of the root canal system can be cleaned, the procedure will be 100% successful. That is why it is so important to understand the art behind this procedure and ensure that the entirety of the infection is addressed. If the infection is not removed completely, patients will continue to have problems – sometimes years after their root canal procedure.
This first radiograph shows a root canal that has not been filled 100%. It still is symptomatic and the dark area at tip of the root indicates an infection. The second film is after the root canal is re-done with the the canal filled all the way to the apex.
To improve the success rate of a root canal, patients should be treated at the first sign of infection. If you are currently experiencing sensitivity to cold that lingers after the source has been removed, it may be time to schedule a consultation. Because the infected root will begin to kill the tooth, early diagnosis and treatment is imperative to avoiding extracting.
Keep in mind – the majority of root canals are performed with no discomfort to the patient. However, the longer you wait, the harder it will be to numb the tooth during the procedure.
For more information about the treatment for this problem, call us at (813) 689-4226 to schedule a consultation today.