Endodontics is a dental specialty that deals with the pathology, physiology, and morphology of periradicular tissues and dental pulp. An endodontic treatment refers to a procedure done inside a tooth performed to save it by removing bacteria or dead tissue inside the tooth.
Among these endodontic treatments, the most well-known is a root canal treatment.
Diagnosing and Treating Pain
Fractured or cracked teeth, toothaches, and other oral pains can be complex to detect. Due to the wide network of nerves in the mouth, one might feel a tooth's discomfort with impairment or deterioration in another tooth, ear, neck, or head. If you have any of these symptoms or have had a traumatic injury leading to root and nerve damage, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist.
Before going through an endodontic treatment like a root canal, do not smoke or drink alcohol at least 12 hours before the procedure. Also, avoid eating before your appointment.
At Your Visit
Your endodontist will examine your X-rays and tooth. Afterward, he will administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth. A small protective sheet called a dental dam is placed over the area, isolating the tooth and keeping it clean and free from saliva during the procedure.
The endodontist creates an opening in the tooth's crown and cleans the inflamed and infected pulp using specialized instruments. The insides of the root canal are shaped and filled using a biocompatible material like a gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is sealed in space with adhesive cement to ensure that the root canals are sealed. The next appointment will involve placing a crown or other restoration work to restore the tooth's full function.
If the cause for a visit was due to trauma, for example, something hit your child's secondary tooth, which is not wholly developed, it can cause the root to cease from developing. So, an endodontist will consider apexification to stimulate the bone that is to be deposited at the root's end.
In the first few days, you may have some tooth sensitivity, which can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medicines. If the pain gets worse or lasts more than a few days, call your dentist or endodontist. Also, do not smoke or drink alcohol until your dentist says it's okay.
Lastly, watch what you eat. Avoid chewing or biting hard foods right after the root canal.
What are other endodontic treatment options?
Besides a root canal, there are other endodontic treatments available you can get, especially when a root canal treatment is no longer an option. These treatments include endodontic retreatment, endodontic surgery, and dental implants.
- Endodontic Retreatment. During endodontic retreatment, the tooth will be reopened to remove the filling materials that were initially placed during the first procedure. If there are new infections, the endodontist will remove them, clean and shape the root canals, and fill the space with new filling materials before sealing it with a temporary filling while waiting for the dental restoration. Afterward, a new crown or other dental restoration will be placed over the tooth to seal and protect it.
- Endodontic Surgery. This procedure removes damaged root surfaces and the surrounding bone of the tooth or remove calcium deposits in the root canals.
- Dental Implants. Another option is to get a dental implant. In this procedure, an artificial tooth root will be placed in the jawbone which will be capped off with a dental crown.