Endodontic treatment is commonly known as “ Root canal ” . “Endo” is the Greek word for “ Inside” and “ Odont” is the Greek word for “tooth”
Endodontic treatment is a dental specialty that deals with diseases of the tissue, blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth.
If you had a tooth with diseases nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth , it runs like a thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or injured , the pulp tissue dies. If you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the dentist removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment ?
Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
Spontaneous pain or throbbing of the tooth
Pain while biting or chewing
Tenderness to touch and chewing
Discoloration of the tooth
Cracked , chipped or split tooth
Trauma, such as sudden blow to the mouth
What are the procedure for Endodontic treatment ?
First evaluation and endodontic tooth preparation
- A small x- ray of the tooth is taken to check the tooth shape and root canals infection site.
- Local anesthesia is administered at the infected site
- A canal is made in tooth to allow for removal of the
- damaged pulp
Clean root canal and pulp chamber
- Root canal may be cleaned once or several times to ensure infection is cleared
- In some cases , medications may be placed to prevent infection by removing germs from the teeth
- After root canal is check and cleared , the root canal is filled
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure ?
While many patients may be in great pain before seeing an endodontict , most report that the pain is relieved by the endodontist and that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment , the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the- counter or prescription medications. The endodontist will tell you how to care for your tooth at home.
Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment ?
You should no chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your general dentist , because your tooth could fracture. Otherwise, just practice good oral hygiene-brushing, flossing and regular checkups and cleanings. Endodontically treated teeth can last for many years, even a lifetime. Teeth which have under gone root canal therapy will need to be restored to full function. Restoration is important as endodontically treated teeth are susceptible to fracture could lead to a permanent loss of the tooth.
Restorations usually involve a composite filling or a full crown, depending on the strength of the remaining tooth. Anterior teeth usually maintain most of their structure and be restores with a composite filling. However, if a large part of the tooth is missing, then a crown is required.
If the tooth does not have enough of its original structure to support the crown then a post will be cemented. This will extend into one or more of the canals. The post will not extend the length of the canals so they will remain sealed. The tooth will now be sealed, and restored to full function.
A non-vital tooth is more brittle than a vital one and is more liable to fracture so, in most cases, it is recommended that your root canal tooth be crowned(capped) following treatment. Posterior teeth are not often restored with composite fillings because they are more exposed. They are usually restored with full crowns, covering and supporting the entire tooth, as well as maintaining the occlusion.
Do you have the alternatives to a root canal treatment ?
Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods and maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge , implant or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These alternatives not only are more expensive than a root canal procedure but require more treatment time and additional procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.