Samaritan Endodontics

Serving Patients with Special Needs

We are committed to making care available for all patients who need it, regardless of special healthcare needs. Patients with special needs include the elderly, those with limited mobility, mentally disabled individuals, immuno-compromised people and those with mental illness. Specific diseases that can frequently hinder proper dental care include autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and Down syndrome.

Serving-Patients-with-Special-Needs copyOften times, these individuals have higher rates or poor hygiene, which leads to greater incidence of gingivitis, periodontitis and dental caries. These conditions can sometimes require root canal therapy or other dental procedures to save the patient’s tooth. While treating a patient with special needs, we strive to ensure:

  • A friendly and comfortable environment
  • Sensitivity and compassion from team members
  • Predictable experiences at each appointment

Our team possesses the compassion and understanding that is imperative when caring for a special needs patient. Some cases involving severe disabilities may require specialized equipment and anesthesia. We realize that each individual with special needs is a unique case and will require different systems and skills to properly treat. We are confident we can provide competent care for the majority of patients who are labeled as special needs.

For patients who are specifically incapable of ideal hygiene, it is essential that the people in daily contact with them become involved in their oral healthcare requirements. If you are a caregiver for a patient with special needs, the best course of action to determine if we can offer treatment is to call our office with any questions and possibly reserve an appointment to tour our facilities. If more complex oral care is required, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist who also works with the special needs population.

No Root Canal? What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

Have you ever wondered: “Do I have to have root canal therapy?   What’s the worst that can happen if I don’t?”

No Root CanalWe are glad you asked! Having a root canal may seem like an intimidating and painful experience, so we are not surprised when some patients are hesitant to go through with it.

But, the fact of the matter is that: root canal treatments save natural teeth. And saving your natural teeth is the most important thing we do as oral health professionals.

Still not convinced? Here are some more compelling reasons to follow through with that root canal treatment:

  • An infected root won’t get better on its own. The pain may go away after some time, but that is not because the infection is gone, it is because the nerves are no longer working properly due to that infection.
  • Abscesses and Systemic Infections: Left untreated, an infected tooth can spread to the gums, causing a serious abscess in the jaw that requires emergency treatment. In rare cases, that could spread even further, creating a systemic (whole body) infection, which has the potential to be life threatening.
  • The role that natural teeth play in the overall health of your body during its lifetime is something that we are learning more about every day. This important role cannot be overstated. A lost, permanent tooth may not seem like a big deal to you now, but it creates a domino effect of health problems down the road. For example, a missing tooth causes nearby teeth to shift, exposing them to more decay and more tooth loss down the road. This can affect your ability to maintain a healthy diet and, in turn, affect the quality and even the span of your life.
  • Money: Even if aesthetics don’t matter to you, a lost tooth will probably cost you more money in the long run than a root canal will, now. When a tooth is missing, the jaw underneath that site atrophies. This makes it more expensive to perform restorative procedures such as dental implants in the future, as they will require more extensive prep-work such as bone grafting.

The bottom line is that your natural teeth are best. Endodontic therapy is typically the best way to save a natural tooth. It is also the most commonly used procedure, that we as oral health professionals have to help you keep your natural teeth for life.

3D Imaging: The Standard in Endodontic Care

The future of dental imaging has arrived, right here in our office! 3D imaging is increasingly becoming the standard in endodontic care. In fact, from the endodontist’s office to the general practitioner’s, 3D imaging is rapidly changing the way that dentistry is performed.

3D-Imaging3D Pictures for 3D Structures

The structures of the mouth and teeth, including the root systems, are three dimensional, yet traditionally they have been photographed in a two-dimensional manner. With the invention and increasing availability of 3D radiographs, we are now able to take patient care to the next level at our practice by providing better outcomes than ever before!

About CBCT

Also known as Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and similar to medical CAT Scans, 3D dental imaging works by rotating around the patient while taking hundreds of pictures per second from different angles. A computer then takes those images and combines them to create a three-dimensional model in the form of a digital picture.

Complex Canals: A Better View

Not surprisingly, 3D imaging gives us a much better view of what is going on inside of your teeth. For example, we are able to see complex canals in much better clarity and with more contrast than ever before. The images also provide a better view of periapical lesions and additional anatomical structures in the axial, coronal and sagittal sections.

Here are some of the benefits of CBCT 3D Machines:

  • Less Radiation than with CAT Scans
  • Compact Machines
  • Allow for Better View of Root Canals
  • Precise Diagnoses
  • More Predictable Treatment Plans and Prognoses

We are proud to provide the newest in technology for our patients to ensure the best care possible!

Getting to the Root of An Apicoectomy

Just saying the word “Apicoectomy” is a mouthful! But don’t be put off by the name, it’s a simple and routine procedure that is effective in treating infections that may occur following root canal treatment.

Beautiful golden transparent tooth with roots illustration. Healthy teeth care symbol.

Beautiful golden transparent tooth with roots illustration. Healthy teeth care symbol.

What is an Apicoectomy? Teeth are held in place by roots that reach into your jawbone. The tip of the root is called the “apex” and this is where nerves and blood vessels enter your tooth. These nerves and vessels travel through a canal inside the root and into the crown, or visible part of your tooth. During root canal treatment, inflamed or infected tissue is removed from the canals. Canals are very complex, with many tiny branches, and occasionally infected debris remains in the tooth and prevents healing or causes re-infection. During an apicoectomy, the root tip, or apex, is removed, along with the infected tissue, and is replaced with a filling to reseal the end of the root.

Who needs an Apicoectomy? An apicoectomy is done only after a tooth has had at least one root canal. In many cases, a second root canal is considered before an apicoectomy. With advances in imaging, we can often detect infected canals that had not been appropriately treated in the past and treat them without the need for surgery. But if an infection persists, it is often near the root tip, and an apicoectomy is an important surgical procedure that can save your tooth from extraction.

What is the follow up? Most apicoectomies take 30 to 90 minutes, depending on which tooth it is and how complicated the root structure is. Your endodontist will use ultrasonic instruments and surgical microscopes to see the area clearly, which will increase the chances of success. The area may bruise and swell slightly in the area around the tooth. Follow up includes over the counter pain relievers or prescription medication. Stitches will be removed 2 to 7 days after the procedure, and full recovery can be expected within 2 weeks. While apicoectomy sounds complicated, most people report that the recovery is easier than that of the original root canal.

If you are having any pain or swelling from a tooth that has had a root canal procedure, please don’t hesitate to call us! We can review your treatment options and answer any questions you may have. Fortunately, an apicoectomy is usually a permanent solution and should last for the life of your tooth!

Tooth Trauma – Avulsion – What Now?

ToothTraumaWhatNowYour son is playing a championship game against the team he’s waited all season to play. The score is tied, and as the minutes wind down, the players have gotten more forceful in their actions. You blink, and all of a sudden your son is holding his mouth and a time-out has been called. You run down to him, and your mind is racing, “What happened? How hurt is he?” As you approach him, you see that in his hand he is holding an adult tooth that has been dislodged from the socket. As the sideline paramedics assess for signs of a concussion or hemorrhage you think, “Now what?”

The injury, and circumstances surrounding the injury may cloud your ability to choose your next action. You can rest assured knowing that when you mix today’s technology and the expertise you can expect from a coordinated team approach, the tooth’s fate is looking brighter already!

In the case of avulsion (when a tooth is out of the socket), the approach will most likely be a team effort. Your first course of action following the injury is to rinse off the tooth and try to place it back in the socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in milk. If you’re expecting an injury like this (as a coach or school teacher etc. might), have Hank’s Balanced Salt Solution on hand to place the tooth in. Water should never be used to place the tooth in. Why milk? Milk maintains the correct fluid balance in the root of the dislodged tooth, which in turn increases the tooth’s chance of survival. Water causes the cells in the tooth to swell and die. If there is no option to place the tooth in any of the approved solutions, place the tooth in between the injured person’s cheek and gum to keep it moist.

After you have arrived at our office, it’s time for us to take over. The investigation phase begins. If a concussion or hemorrhage has not been ruled out, now is the time. When the coast is clear, it is time to move onto a gathering of both radiographic evidence of the injury and clinical documentation about the patient and the incident. From that extracted information, we can make a diagnosis and a subsequent treatment plan. As we mentioned before, depending on the type and severity of the injury, the process may involve a dental professional team.

The aim of treating a tooth trauma case is always to maintain or regain pulpal vitality in the affected tooth/teeth.

In the next few months we will cover other types of tooth injuries and treatments. Stay tuned!