The Basics of Endodontic and Root Canal Treatments
What Really Is Endodontics?
Endodontics deals with the causes, diagnosis, treatments, and prevention of diseases affecting the dental pulp or nerve tissue inside a tooth as well as periradicular tissues or the structures around the teeth. In fact, endodontics is considered one of the nine dental specialties that have been already accepted by the American Dental Association.
The Functions Of An Endodontist
An endodontist is a specialist who has completed two years of additional training in endodontics. The professional is also trained to deal with a wide variety of endodontic procedures as well as diagnose the cause of facial and oral pain that may not directly relate to root canal disease. In fact, they specialize in diagnosing migraines, sinusitis, neuralgias, and different types of headaches, etc. Most of the endodontists functioning in the United States are members of the American Association of Endodontists. Most of the time, a patient is referred to a qualified endodontist for treating complex dental issues even though your general dentist may administer basic endodontic treatments.
What Really Is Root Canal Disease?
The bulk of the structure of your tooth contains the dentin. The uppermost part of the dentin is covered by the white layer of enamel. There is a soft tissue known as the pulp inside the dentin. The crown extends from the root of the tooth to the crown of it. It contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. The pulp plays an important part during the development phase of the tooth since it makes the surrounding tissues of the tooth. But once the tooth has fully developed, it can easily survive without the help of the pulp.
When the pulp is infected or inflamed due to whatever reason, endodontic treatment is the solution. There are many causes of the inflammation or infection such as tooth decay, repeated dental fillings, trauma, tooth cracks, and numerous other reasons. When the inflammation or infection is left unattended for a long time, it will cause pain and result in an abscess. Finally, you can lose the tooth. Prolonged sensitivity to cold and hot foods is a sign of pulp inflammation. Also, swelling of the gums and tooth discoloration are also symptoms of this condition. Sometimes, you won't find any symptoms when you suffer from pulp inflammation or infection.
Non-Surgical Root Canal Treatments
Your endodontist is the best person to diagnose the condition and recommend the right course of treatment. Once the condition is diagnosed by a professional endodontist, he or she will numb the area with a local anesthetic. Once the area is completely numb, the dentist will place a small protective sheet known as a "dental dam" over the affected tooth. This is done to isolate the tooth from bacterial contamination due to coming to contact with saliva. The endodontist will create an opening through the chewing surface of the affected tooth in order to gain access to the pulp tissue located inside the canal space. He or she will use a small instrument to remove the pulp from its chamber. Space will be shaped for the filling. The root canal space is cleaned and disinfected using various disinfecting solutions at the same time.
Once the area is shaped and cleaned, the dentist will fill the space with a material that is biocompatible. It is a material similar to rubber which is known as gutta-percha. This material is coated with an adhesive material to seal the root canals. Most of the time, your dentist will use a temporary filling to cover the access opening - which will be removed before the tooth is restored.
Endodontic treatments are completed within the first or second visit to the dentist. You may have to return to the dentist for the second time to have a crown placed over the tooth - this helps restore the full function of the tooth. If this is not completed within a couple of weeks after the root canal treatment, the treated tooth may crack or break.
What Is a Surgical Root Canal Treatment?
Dental surgery will help save your tooth in a wide variety of situations:
- - Surgery is used to remove pulp from the root tip. Most of the time, this area may not be adequately clean during a non-surgical treatment process due to blockages.
- - Surgery can help diagnose a problem that is not immediately visible on a dental x-ray such as accessory canal spaces and root fractures.
- - It will help treat damaged root surfaces and the surrounding bone structures.
There are numerous dental surgeries that could be used to save a tooth. The most common one is known as apicoectomy (root-end resection). When the bone around the root tip is infected after a root canal procedure, this type of surgery may be the solution.
The endodontist will open the gum tissue and remove the infected tissue. The resected root surface will be examined for fractures and the root end is removed in the process. The dentist will place a small filling to seal the end of the root canal and suture it in order to help the gum tissue heal.