Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry focusing on the internal structures of teeth. The term "Endodontics" originates from the Greek words meaning "inside the tooth," referring to the tooth pulp, nerves, tissues, and arterioles. Endodontists undergo additional training after dental school to perform procedures like root canal therapy, both complex and simple.

Previously, a tooth with a diseased nerve would typically be extracted, but now, endodontists can often save the natural tooth. This is achieved by removing the inner tooth structures, followed by sealing the resulting gap with a crown, restoring the tooth's health and functionality.

Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems may include: 

  1. Gum inflammation and tenderness.
  2. Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  3. Discomfort when chewing and biting.
  4. Tooth discoloration.
  5. Unexplained pain in nearby lymph nodes. 

Reasons for endodontic treatment

Endodontic treatment, commonly referred to as root canal therapy, is a dental procedure performed to save natural teeth that are severely damaged or infected. Here are some additional details about the causes that may lead to the need for endodontic treatment:

Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:

  1. Bacterial infections: Oral bacteria are the primary culprits behind endodontic problems. When tooth decay or injury creates small openings in the tooth enamel, bacteria can penetrate the tooth's inner pulp. This can result in inflammation, infection, and the formation of an abscess, which can be painful and detrimental to the tooth's health.

  2. Fractures and chips: When a tooth experiences significant damage or has a portion of its crown detached, root canal therapy may be necessary. In such cases, the removal of the crown portion exposes the pulp, causing severe pain and potential complications.

  3. Injuries: Trauma to the mouth, whether direct or indirect, can cause various types of tooth injuries. Some injuries may result in a tooth being dislodged from its socket or luxated. After stabilizing the injured tooth, endodontic treatment is often required to address any damage to the pulp.

  4. Tooth avulsion: If a tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, immediate action is crucial. Rinsing the tooth and repositioning it promptly increases the chances of saving it. If reinsertion is not possible, storing the tooth in a specialized dental solution or milk can help preserve its vitality. The tooth will be repositioned using a splint, and root canal therapy may be performed to restore its health.

What does an endodontic procedure invlove?

Root canal therapy typically takes one to three visits. X-rays will be taken before treatment begins. Local anesthetic is administered, and a protective sheet called a dental dam is placed. The tooth's pulp is removed, and the space is cleaned and filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Root canals are sealed, and a temporary filling is placed. In the final visit, a permanent restoration like a crown is added.

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