Tooth-Saving Therapies with Westford Endodontic Care
Thanks to modern endodontistry, we’re able to enjoy our natural teeth longer than ever before!
This page was created to give you a brief overview of the therapies that we provide at Westford Endodontic Care. No need to worry about unnecessary graphic imagery or overly detailed descriptions of procedures here. The fact is, procedures are far less scary than they look, and we will discuss them with you in person in a much more appropriate and supportive setting.
That said, it's important to know about the many conditions that can be treated with endodontistry! Saving your tooth allows you to keep your natural smile while maintaining the structural integrity and function of your mouth’s unique physiology, allowing for natural chewing and even protecting the surrounding teeth.
Endodontic Therapies – An Overview
Some things are truly worth saving
There’s nothing like the look, feel, and function of our natural teeth. At Westford Endodontic Care, we work alongside your dentist as an extension of your dental healthcare team to ensure that you get to enjoy your natural teeth for as many years as possible.
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a highly specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating the interior anatomy of the tooth. When that tissue is compromised, your dentist will refer you to an endodontist who has the skills, experience, and technology to best diagnose and treat that tooth. Select any of the items below to learn more about the therapies we provide and conditions we treat.
Root Canal Therapy
When the internal tissue of a tooth becomes compromised, your dentist may recommend a root canal to save the tooth and avoid the need for extraction, bridges, or implants. While the term “root canal” carries negative connotations, today’s materials, technology, and anesthetics allow us to keep our patients more comfortable than ever while providing better clinical outcomes and faster recovery times.
It’s all about details and communication
While all endodontists are trained in pain management, Dr. Ross is particularly well-known for his exceptional clinical skills, his kind, gentle manner, and his total dedication to patient care. Dr. Ross and the entire Westford Endodontic Care team are dedicated to ensuring that your experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible from start to finish.
While it takes a great deal of skill to perform, the basic procedure is relatively straightforward. Because a fully developed tooth no longer requires its internal tissue (pulp) to survive, infected pulp can be removed and replaced with inert material. Once the tooth is restored, you get to continue enjoying your tooth, with normal biting force and sensation, efficient chewing, and keeping your natural smile!
Treating Cracked & Fractured Teeth
Teeth can crack from grinding or clenching, chewing on hard objects like ice or cough drops, and even from long-term wear and tear. Left untreated, cracks can lead to pain, infection, and loss of the tooth. Early detection makes a big difference when saving a cracked tooth. The sooner you get treatment, the better the outcome will be.
Diagnosis and Prognosis
Diagnosing a cracked tooth can be deceptively difficult, and your dentist may decide to refer you to Westford Endodontic Care for a diagnostic consultation. Dr. Ross will use enhanced magnification, imaging technology, and specialized examination techniques to determine the diagnosis and prognosis of the tooth.
Treatment generally depends on the type, location, and extent of the crack. Many teeth are simply worn-in and can be saved with treatment, while others are worn-out and would best be replaced with an alternative treatment method. With careful examination and decades of experience, Dr. Ross works with each individual patient to determine their best course of treatment.
Diagnosis & Treatment of Tooth Pain
Many factors can contribute to dental and facial pain, and pain can present itself in varying ways, from a dull ache to a sharp pain, pain from pressure (such as biting), sensitivity to hot or cold, throbbing pain in the teeth or face, or pain in the jaw. Pain may be constant, only happen when exposed to certain stimulus (pressure, hot, cold), or it may be intermittent, hurting one day and seemingly gone the next.
You should not have to live with pain that makes it difficult to eat, work, concentrate, or sleep, and pain can signal an infection or a damaged tooth that needs treatment. The good news is that many types of dental pain and sensitivity can be avoided and sometimes even corrected with preventative care, good oral health practices, and self awareness.
Diagnosis & Treatment Planning
If the pain is particularly difficult to diagnose, or if your dentist suspects a crack or other endodontic issue, they may refer you to Westford Endodontic Care for a diagnostic consultation. Dr. Ross will take into account your full dental history, your symptoms, and all examination findings in order to determine the best solution for you.
Treating Traumatic Dental Injuries
Traumatic dental injuries can be caused by low-grade traumatic activity such as excessive clenching or grinding or by acute trauma from an accident or sports injury. The tooth may be chipped, cracked, dislodged, or knocked out completely. Treatment will depend on the type, location, and severity of the injury. Regardless of the type of injury, you will want to get your tooth examined as soon as possible.
Acting quickly is essential
In the event of acute dental trauma, it is essential that you seek immediate medical and dental care in order to establish the best plan of action for saving the tooth and to prevent infection and loss of function. It's also important that your dentist or endodontist examine the teeth adjacent to the injury to check for additional damage that may be difficult to detect.
Endodontic Revision (Retreatment)
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as natural teeth. On occasion, however, an endodontically treated tooth may fail over time. The three primary reasons for failure are:
- tooth decay or leaking restorations (filling and crowns). This can be caused by the patient waiting too long to get their restoration done after the endodontic treatment.
- cracks that have developed in the tooth over time due to excessive biting stress (due to grinding, chewing hard objects or foods, or traumatic injury).
- unfulfilled objectives during the initial treatment. That is, something was missed in the initial treatment, whether it was meticulous cleaning, shaping of the anatomy, or the proper filling of all anatomy.
Giving your tooth a second chance
When advisable, revision therapy is a great way to give your tooth a second chance, avoiding extraction and adding years of life to the tooth. If you have a problematic root canal, Dr. Ross will perform a thorough diagnostic examination to determine the status and prognosis of the tooth followed by a consultation to discuss all of your treatment options.
Microsurgical Endodontic Therapy
In some cases, root canal therapy may fail to resolve a dental infection. In that case, microsurgical endodontic therapy (also called Endodontic Surgery) may be necessary to remove the infected tissue from the hard-to-reach structures around the roots, eliminating an infected or untreatable portion of the tooth and encouraging healing.
This minor surgical procedure is a conservative retreatment that saves the tooth while leaving your restorations in place. Microsurgical endodontic therapy is often referred to as an apicoectomy (removal of the root end). As a routine measure, the infected tissue is sent for biopsy to ensure the source of the infection.
Internal Bleaching for Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration
Intrinsic (internal) discoloration of a tooth can be caused by trauma, loss of vitality, endodontic treatment, and other restorative procedures. Internal bleaching is performed to lighten the internal anatomy of a tooth that has been previously traumatized.
Internal beaching is performed upon successful completion of endodontic therapy. This treatment is elective and can be discussed any time before the permanent restoration is placed by your dentist. It is most commonly performed on the front teeth when a crown is not planned as the final restoration.