Endodontic Dentistry is related to the field of dentistry related with tooth pulp and pulp problems. Damage to teeth, such as cracks or deep cavities, can reach down to the nerve tissue and blood vessels residing in the soft pulp of the tooth. Damage to the pulp can lead to painful swelling, damage to the jaw bones or muscles, and the formation of abscesses. If left unchecked, this could lead to loss of tooth or tooth removal.
Damaged pulp once led to the removal of the tooth. With today’s advancement, however, dentists use a procedure called a root canal to restore and protect the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels hence saving the tooth.
Benefits of Endodontic Treatment
- Removal of bacterial infection from tooth
- Removal of pain
- Prevention of further spread of infection throughout tooth to periapical tissue and surrounding bone
Procedure for Endodontic Treatment
First Evaluation and endodontic tooth preparation
- a small x-ray of the tooth is taken to check the tooth shape and root canals infection site
- local anthesia is administered at the infected site
- a canal is made in tooth to allow for removal of the damaged pulp
Clean root canal and pulp chamber
- root canal may be cleaned once or several times to ensure infection is cleared
- in some cases, medications may be placed to prevent infection by removing germs from the teeth
- Root Filling
- after root canal is check and cleared, the root canal is filled
Post and core
- the tooth tends to be fragile after root canal treatment has been done, a post and core build-up followed by a crown is usually done placed over the root canal treated teeth to provide extra strength and protection
- Proper oral care and regular dental visits ensure that the treated tooth remains healthy
The primary goal of endodontic treatment is to create an environment within the root canal system which allows for healing and continued maintenance of the health of periradicular tissue. A successful procedure is one which has removed bacteria in the tooth and completely filled the canals.
For the first few days following the completion of treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications. Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Root Canal Treatment
- Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?
- What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?
- What Are the Signs that a Root Canal Is Needed?
- Are there any complications of a Root Canal?
- Are there any alternatives to a Root Canal?
Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:
- Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
- Bone loss around the tip of the root
- Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin
What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?
Nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed and infected due to deep decay, large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.
What Are the Signs that a Root Canal Is Needed?
Sometimes no symptoms are present. However, signs to look for include:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold object has been removed)
- Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Are there any complications of a Root Canal?
Despite your dentist’s best efforts to clean and seal a tooth, new infections might emerge. Among the likely reasons for this include:
- More than the normally anticipated number of root canals in a tooth (leaving one of them uncleaned)
- An undetected crack in the root of a tooth
- Inadequate dental restoration
- A breakdown of the inner sealing material over time, allowing bacteria to recontaminate the inner aspects of the tooth
Sometimes retreatment can be successful, other times endodontic surgery must be tried in order to save the tooth. The most common endodontic surgical procedure is an apicoectomy or root-end resection. This procedure relieves the inflammation or infection in the bony area around the end of your tooth that continues after endodontic treatment. In this procedure, the gum tissue is opened, the infected tissue is removed, and sometimes the very end of the root is removed. A small filling may be placed to seal the root canal.
Are there any alternatives to a Root Canal?
Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.