What Is Endodontics? Here’s What You Should Know

What Is Endodontics? Here’s What You Should Know

Dec 01, 2020

Losing one of your pearly whites is an unpleasant feeling. It not only mars your smile but also affects your oral health. In the past, if you had tooth decay, there was almost no hope of salvaging the tooth. An appointment at the dentist back then was synonymous with tooth extractions. Not anymore.

Today, we have endodontic services, which can ensure that a tooth that hasn’t been severely damaged by tooth decay can be saved. Our expert dentist will ensure that your tooth remains intact and functionality is restored. This is because our dentist believes that teeth are unique and, therefore, irreplaceable.

Endodontic Treatment Basics

Endodontics deals with the soft inner part of your tooth. The name is actually joined from two words endo (inside) odont (teeth). Thus, endodontic services deal with the issues that affect the inner part of your tooth (dental pulp). Typically, the inner part of the tooth, known as the dental pulp, contains the following:

  • Arterioles
  • Venules
  • Nerves
  • Fibrous tissue
  • Lymphatic tissue

The goal of endodontic treatment is to save the natural tooth. Besides saving your tooth, you can save the investment you would otherwise make to replace the tooth. Endodontic treatment is also commonly known as root canal therapy.

When Is The Right Time To Seek Endodontic Treatment?

Ideally, the dental pulp is protected by the hard outer layer of your tooth (enamel). But when the structural integrity of the dentin is compromised, the pulp becomes exposed. This can lead to infection or inflammation of the pulp and can cause extreme pain. This is when root canal therapy becomes necessary.

When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, you will start experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Swelling of the gums
  • Tenderness of the gums, especially when you chew
  • Extreme discomfort or toothache
  • Discolored tooth; at times, it might have a dark hue.
  • Tenderness and swelling of the lymph nodes, gingival tissues, and jaw bone area
  • Extensive and persistent tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks

The above symptoms indicate that the nerve is infected. These symptoms should not be ignored since they can lead to an abscess (a severe infection characterized by a pus-filled pocket in your jaw bone and gums).

If  you fall in any of the following categories, then endodontic services may not be suitable:

  • Inaccessible root canals
  • Severely damaged roots
  • The insufficient bone supporting the tooth
  • Severe tooth damage

How Is Endodontic Treatment Done?

When you come to our dental office, the procedure will be completed within two dental appointments. Before commencing the process, our dentist will assess your affected tooth, take images of the tooth using X-rays, and present you with the treatment plan.

If your diagnosis is for root canal therapy, then our dentist will perform the procedure as follows:

  • Step One

Local anesthesia will be administered so that the procedure can be comfortable and pain-free. Then, using a thin rubber dam, the affected tooth will be isolated. Then a drill will be used to create a small opening, which grants access to the pulp.

  • Step Two

Our dentist will proceed to remove the infected pulp. The space that is left will be cleaned to ensure that the debris and bacteria are removed.

  • Step Three

The disinfected space will need to be sealed to avoid contaminants from entering and causing additional infection.  Space has to be shaped so that it can accommodate the sealing material.  Our dentist will use a substance known as gutta-percha to fill and seal the space. The opening that was made earlier will temporarily be sealed to keep it covered before sealing it permanently.

  • Step Four

This is the last step of the procedure. Typically, our dentist in West Covina will use a dental crown to cover the tooth and reinforce it. This will ensure that the look and functionality of your tooth are restored. If a dental cap is not used to reinforce the tooth, your tooth may become brittle and fracture. This is because the tooth becomes weak when it is not receiving nourishment from the pulp.

However, when a dental crown is placed, it reinforces and protects the tooth; therefore, restoring your tooth’s lasting functionality.

Your smile will be as good as new when you leave our dental office. Do not hesitate to call our dentist at the office of Jeffrey L. Cohen, DDS, to book an appointment.

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