A Greek word literally meaning "inside the tooth," endodontics refers to the complex structures on the inside of the tooth, including the pulp, nerves, tissues and arterioles. This area of dentistry now allows dentists to save teeth that would previously have been removed. Signs of these problems can include:
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Tooth discoloration
- Inflammation or tenderness of the gums
- Unexplained pain in the lymph nodes
- Tenderness when biting or chewing
Reasons for Endodontics
Endodontics is used to preserve the natural teeth whenever possible. Natural teeth are usually the best option. Some of the main causes of this inner tooth damage can include:
- Bacterial Infections - Bacteria is one of the most common causes of issues inside your teeth. Once it gets inside the tooth, inflammation and the resulting infection may lead to an abscess or possible tooth loss.
- Injuries - Sometimes injuries to the mouth can cause a tooth to become loosened or luxated. Sometimes endodontics can stabilize the tooth and save it.
- Fractures and Chips - If there is a crack in the tooth causing pain, a root canal can help resolve things.
- Removals - Some injuries involve a tooth being knocked completely out. The tooth should be rinsed and replaced as quickly as possible or placed in a glass of milk and taken to the dentist immediately. This will keep the tooth healthy and alive until it can be replaced and secured.
The Process of Endodontic Procedures
Endodontics usually requires one or two appointments to complete. After an x-ray and thorough examination, a local anesthetic and rubber dam will be used. An opening is made on the surface of the tooth and the pulp from inside is extracted. The dentist will carefully shape the root canals and then clean them and fill them with gutta-percha, which is a biocompatible rubbery substance. Cement will seal off the root canal and a temporary filling is applied until a permanent crown can be created and placed.