The tooth is made up of 2 hard tissues the Dentin and the Enamel. The enamel is a rock hard outer shell of the tooth. It is a transparent-whitish tissue that is 95% crystal and 5% collagen. Enamel is the hardest tissue in our bodies and is designed to withstand the abrasive nature of chewing. Dentin makes up the inner core of the tooth as well as the roots. Dentin is 50% crystal / 50% collagen and is a firm, flexible tissue similar to bone, but much denser. It is made up of millions of microscopic tunnels where tiny extensions of the nerve reside. That is why exposed dentin is “sensitive”. Inside the dentin core and the roots is the Pulp. It is composed of blood vessels, which nourish the tooth, and the nerve that gives sensation to the tooth. Blood vessels and the nerve enter an exit the tooth trough a pin-sized hole at the tip of the root. The nerves in our teeth have only one “feeling” PAIN!
Why do teeth “die”?
The pulp lives inside the tooth, which can be thought of as a “hollow rock”. Its only entry and exist is a pin-sized hole at the tip of the root. Anything that cause pulp inflammation caused the nerve to hurt. Inflammation causes swelling and as the tissue inside the tooth expands it has no-where to go. Given enough time or enough swelling the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth become crushed or asphyxiated, eventually leading to nerve death. The nerve can deal with a little inflammation as when eating something very cold or hot, or a minor tap on the tooth. However, trauma, deep decay, improperly placed fillings or crowns and cracks in teeth can all lead to irreversible pulp inflammation and eventual nerve death. This is a very painful process!
How do teeth die?
When the pulp is inflamed and the inflammation is constant the nerve begins to die. This is often a very painful process. The pain is described as bad as the worst earache and worse that childbirth! Eventually after several days or weeks the nerve dies and the pain goes away. If you have been taking pain medicine to mask the pain and wait it out until the pain goes away, you may think everything is OK! Unfortunately, the tissue inside the tooth is silently decomposing. This is called Tissue Necrosis or Putrification. The tissue first liquefies, and then gas is released. This gas eventually begins to put pressure on the one exit: the pin–sized hole at the tip of the root. At this point pain to HOT foods or drinks is felt because the heat expands the gas, putting more pressure on the bone surrounding the tooth. The gas pressure causes the bone surrounding the root to liquefy or necrose, causing an abscess. If there is bacteria present in the tooth form a cavity, a tooth crack or poorly fitted filling or crown an infection follows. This infection can spread to the face and in rare instances to the brain. People have actually died form untreated tooth infection!
What is Root Canal Therapy?
he mention of "root canal" sends shivers down peoples spines. That is why at Long Island Center for Healthier Dentistry root canal therapy is done with the aid of advanced magnification for added precision. Quiet electric drill and the most current root canal instruments ensure a relaxed experience and less time in the dental chair. The treatment results have become much more successful with our holistic root canal therapy approach using a combination of laser ands ozone disinfection protocols. We are the ONLY practice on Long Island to use the Powerlase AT Dental Laser combined with ozone to thoroughly disinfect the root canal system. Our Er: Yag laser with specialized fiberoptic tips in the P.I.P.S. protocol. The P.I.P.S. protocol kills bacteria inside the small side branches of tooth root canals and within dentin tubules. Ozone gas disinfection can accomplish similar results. By combining both disinfection protocols together, our patients can be sure of thorough root canal and tooth disinfection. This goes beyond traditional rinse disinfection. Many dentists use multiple x-rays to determine the length of the tooth root during treatment. Our office utilizes a mini-computer to do the same job. This means much fewer x-rays during your root canal treatment. In our office, root canal treatment is faster, quieter and more comfortable compared to traditional methods.
Root Canal Therapy is the careful removal of the sick pulp from the center of the tooth and the roots, followed by disinfection and sealing of the empty space that once housed the pulp.
Sounds simple? Well it's not. Root canal treatment is one of the most complicated dental procedures. In fact, a Dental Specialty has been developed so that some dentists can focus their full attention and careers at performing Root Canal Treatment. These dentist as called Endodontists.
Why an Endodontist?
Endodontists have advanced training in Root Canal Therapy as well as root canal surgery, called Apicoectomy. They undergo 2 additional years of post-doctorate education and training. Root Canal Specialists spend their entire careers performing root canal treatment. Today, with modern technology such as high magnigication, ultrasonics, advanced disinfection procedures using lasers and ozone, improved sealing techniques and new non-toxic biocompatible cements, root canal therapy can be 95-97% successful. Although some general dentists perform root canal treatment, we recommend that all root canal treatment is performed by a modern-trained Endodontist. After all, do you really want to have your root canal treatment done more than once?
Root Canal Treatment success in the hands of a well trained Root Canal Specialist can be in the high ninety percentile. Nevertheless, here are some challanges or complications that some teeth may present: