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Endodontics

Endodontics refers to another specialized aspect of dentistry that has to do with dealing the complex structures in the teeth. “Endodontics” is a Greek word which means “inside the tooth” and has to do with the nerves, tooth pulp, arterioles, tissues, and nerves. Endodontists have acquired additional training at the end of dental school, which helps them handle even the most complex procedures, including root canal therapy.

Historically, any tooth that has a diseased nerve would be immediately extracted, but today, endodontists can preserve the natural tooth most of the time. In short, extracting the inner tooth structures, then using a crown to seal the resulting gap helps to restore the functionality and health of damaged teeth.

Symptoms of endodontic problems include:

  • Tender and Inflamed gums.
  • Teeth are sensitive to cold or hot foods.
  • Tooth discoloration.
  • Tenderness when chewing and biting.
  • Pain in the lymph nodes.

Reasons for endodontic treatment

Endodontic treatment or root canal therapy is usually carried out to save the natural tooth. In spite of the numerous technological advancements, many dentists still believe that nothing can be substituted with natural, healthy teeth.

Some of the major causes of inner tooth damage include:

Bacterial infections – the most common cause of endodontic problems is oral bacteria. The tooth pulp is attacked by bacteria through tiny fissures in the teeth that must have been as a result of an injury. The resulting bacterial infection and inflammation damage the affected area and may result in the formation of an abscess.

Fractures and chips – when a substantial portion of the crown has been detached completely, root canal treatment may be helpful. The absence of the crown portion exposes the pulp, which can cause debilitating pain.

Injuries – direct or indirect blow to the mouth can cause a varying degree of injuries to the teeth. A tooth can become dislodged or luxated from its socket due to injury. Most of the time, after the endodontist has stabilized the injured tooth, root canal therapy will be required.

Removals – if a tooth is cleanly knocked out of its socket, it should be rinsed and put back in the socket as fast as possible. If this is not possible, the tooth should be placed in milk or a solution (which can be picked from pharmacies). These steps will ensure that the tooth’s inner mechanism remains moist while seeking emergency dental treatment. A special splint will be used to attach the tooth to its socket, and the endodontist will carry out root canal therapy to save the tooth.

What does an endodontic procedure involve?

Root canal therapy is usually completed in one to three visits. X-rays of the teeth will be taken, processed and evaluated before the commencement of any treatment.

First, a local anesthetic is administered, and a protective sheet (dental dam) placed to ensure that there is no saliva around the surgical area during the treatment. An opening is made on the tooth’s surface, and the pulp completely extracted with the aid of small handheld instruments.

The shape is then cleaned and filled with gutta-percha, which refers to a biocompatible that is similar to rubber. Cement is applied to ensure that the root canal is totally sealed. A temporary filling is usually placed before the permanent restoration procedure. A permanent crown or restoration is placed during the final visit.

For questions about endodontic procedures, please get in touch with our office.

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