Endodontics (a Greek word that literally means “inside the tooth”) is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside your tooth, the tooth pulp, connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. This is widely referred to as a "root canal treatment or RCT".
Historically, a tooth with a diseased nerve would be removed immediately, but with modern endodontic procedures many of these same teeth can now be saved and effectively restored. Generally, removing the interior structures and sealing the canal(s) provides an excellent substructure so with a crown the tooth can be returned to health and function. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.
Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:
- Reddened and/or swollen tenderness in the gums.
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot and/or cold or tender when chewing and biting.
- Tooth discoloration.
Three main causes of inner tooth damage are the reasons for endodontic treatment:
Bacterial infections as a result of tooth decay which may lead to an abscess.
Fractures and chips – When a large part of the tooth has become completely detached leaving the pulp exposed, which can be debilitatingly painful.
Injuries – Pulp necrosis can result from a direct or indirect blow to the mouth resulting in one or more of the three symptoms listed above. . Frequently these changes are not noticed until years after the trauma.
Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
Injury or trauma to the tooth.
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments.
1) A series of files are placed into the canal opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria.
2) Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling.
3) In addition, teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
If you have questions about endodontics or root canal treatment or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.