Endodontics is a specialized type of dentistry that deals with abnormal tooth pulp; the causes/origins, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries to the pulp; and other conditions affecting the tissues surrounding the pulp and canal (channel inside the tooth root). Tooth pulp, the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues, runs through the hard tissue inside the tooth (dentin) and extends from the crown (top) of the tooth down to the tip of the root in the jaw bone.
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Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal Treatment)
- Treatment often involves from one to three visits. This treatment involves the removal of the infected nerve and sealing off the entire root system. A root canal involves the removal of the soft tissue that fills the pulp canal in the center of the tooth. He then cleans and enlarges the space. Finally, he fills the canal with an inert material that seals the tooth and enables the patient to retain a dead tooth. After the root canal, the tooth must be properly restored. It is very weak at this point. Usually, a cap or crown is required.
What does treatment involve?
- Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, your dentist removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
Here's how your tooth is saved through treatment:
- First, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
- An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
- The pulp is then removed. The canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be filled.
- The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
- Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of germs and prevent infection.
- A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
- The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed.
- The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and filled.
- In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth. If an endodontist performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to your family dentist for this final step.
What does treatment involve?
- Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.