When the pulp, or the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected, endodontic treatment becomes necessary. Possible causes of inflammation or infection include deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth or a crack or chip in the tooth. Even if it has no chips or cracks, however, injury to a tooth may lead to pulp damage. Left untreated, pulp inflammation or infection can be painful and even cause an abscess.
Consult an endodontist if you experience pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, or discoloration of the tooth. Other signs you may need endodontic treatment include swelling, drainage or tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gum tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms signaling that you might need treatment.
When you come in to the office, Dr. Habas will give you a clinical exam and a series of tests to find the problem. This will help him build a treatment plan, and decide whether there is enough tooth structure for a restoration procedure.
Most routine procedures take less than two hours. In some cases, a second appointment might be necessary to make sure the treatment properly took effect. In these cases, re-treatments are necessary to ensure there are no remaining abscesses or necrotic pulp, and to make sure the space is clean and sterile before sealing the canal space.
Generally, your endodontically treated teeth last just as long as your natural teeth.