Viewing entries tagged
root canal

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Root Canal or Implant?

To extract or not to extract?  This is the question that faces many teeth that fail to heal following root canal treatment.  It is less likely that an implant would be recommended for a tooth requiring a first-time root canal, and more likely for a retreatment.  Because implants are gaining much popularity of late, they have become the preferred solution to a failing root canal.  Some dentists may consider root canal retreatment too complicated, unpredictable, or unsuccessful to recommend.  The truth is that retreatment can be a very successful procedure, 80-90% on average.  When there is a clear cut reason to explain why a root canal is failing, such as a missed canal, a poor root filling, or root canal recontamination through a leaking restoration, there is a great possibility that the retreatment will remove the source of the infection and allow the tooth to heal.  Some retreatments may not be as predictable, such as those with separated instruments, canal blockages, or root perforations.  Apical surgery may be an option for the more complicated retreatments.  Sometimes it is not advisable to perform a retreatment due to a poor prognosis, and an alternate treatment should be done.  Implants are an excellent option for replacing missing teeth, but they should only be considered if it has been determined that extraction is necessary.  Both root canals and single-tooth implants share the same survival rate of about 94%.  However, implants have been shown to require more treatment intervention to maintain their survival rate.  They also require more time to function than a tooth receiving root canal therapy, meaning that it can take a significant amount of time before you can use your implanted tooth.  There are many factors that must be evaluated to determine the treatment that's best for your tooth.  If your tooth has been recommended for extraction and implant, ask if root canal is an option.

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Why do patients hate the dentist?

It always begins the same way:  I have nothing against you, but I hate the dentist.  There is no doubt that the word "dentist" conjures up feelings of anxiety and fear within certain patients.  Most of the time, the fear originates from a negative dental experience many years in the past.  Unfortunately, despite the advances in dentistry, the dental profession has not yet been able to completely extinguish these feelings of fear and anxiety.  It is not surprising that root canals top the category of most feared dental procedures, when it should in fact be considered the most misunderstood procedure.  Pain is often associated with root canal treatment, but it is usually the pre-operative pain of which is being regarded.  There is no reason why a root canal procedure cannot be performed 100% pain-free.  Patients must be reminded that the purpose of a root canal procedure is not to cause pain, but rather to relieve it, and many patients will attest to near immediate relief of pain following a root canal.  Hopefully with each passing painless dental procedure performed, the level of fear and anxiety in patients is gradually elimitated.

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Root Canal Safety

The AAE recently released the following video to help answer questions regarding root canal safety.  The safety of root canal therapy has been challenged on the internet, and the truth is that root canal treatment is a perfectly safe procedure that has never been shown to cause disease.  Please view the following video and visit the AAE website for more information regarding root canal safety and other facts about endodontics in general.

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