Endodontics (from the Greek endo meaning “inside” and odons meaning “tooth”) is a dental specialty that deals with the tooth pulp, the soft inner tissue of the teeth. The pulp contains nerve, lymphatic and other tissues and if it becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
Root canal therapy: the most common endodontic procedure.
Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause ongoing pain or lead to an abscess.
There are several symptoms that indicate a patient may need root canal therapy. These include prolonged pain or, sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gum tissues. Sometimes, there are no symptoms whatsoever.
What’s involved in root canal therapy?
In the actual root canal procedure, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, in a follow-up visit, a crown or other restoration is placed on the tooth to protect it and restore it to full function.
Thanks to the latest techniques and anesthetics, most patients are made to feel comfortable during the procedure. However, for the first few days after the treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive but any discomfort can generally be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications.
What is an apicoectomy?
Known as root-end surgery, an apicoectomy is an endodontic surgical procedure in which the dentist opens the gum tissue near the tooth to see the underlying bone and to remove any inflamed or infected tissue. The very end of the root is also removed. A small filling may be placed in the root to seal the end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures placed in the gingiva (gums) to help the tissue heal properly. Over a period of months, the bone heals around the end of the root.
What training is involved in endodontics?
Endodontics requires special training beyond dental school. To become an endodontist in the U.S., after finishing a dental degree, a dentist must undergo two to three additional years of postgraduate training in an American Dental Association (CODA) accredited program.
Crystal Dental has highly qualified endodontic specialists at our three locations. If you’re experiencing pain in your tooth or gums, we invite you to schedule an appointment with our office nearest you. Contact Us!