Endodontic Treatment

What is endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment treats the inside of a tooth. To thoroughly explain endodontic treatment, it helps to know the anatomy of a tooth. Within a tooth, under the enamel and dentin, is the pulp. This soft tissue consists of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. The pulp extends from the crown to the tip of the roots, where it connects to the tissue around the root. Although the pulp is important during tooth development, once a tooth is mature, it can survive without it.

Why would I need endodontic treatment?

If the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, endodontic treatment is necessary to save the tooth. Infection or inflammation can occur due to deep decay, a crack or chip in the tooth, or because of repeated dental procedures on the tooth. Trauma (a blow to the tooth) can also damage the pulp, even if there are no visible chips or cracks. Left untreated, infection or inflammation can cause an abscess.

What happens during endodontic treatment?

During the procedure, the endodontist will make an opening in the crown of the tooth. Using very small instruments, the pulp is removed, and the pulp chamber and canals are cleaned and shaped. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the root canals are filled with a biocompatible material. The canals are completely sealed. After the procedure, a dentist must place a crown or another restoration to restore the tooth to full function.

Is endodontic treatment painful?

Modern techniques and anesthetics are used during the procedure, to ensure patients remain as comfortable as possible. For the first few days after treatment, some discomfort is normal. You can take over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate any pain.

Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

Most teeth can be treated. Sometimes a tooth cannot be saved if the canals are not accessible, the root is very fractured, there is not enough bone support, or it simply cannot be restored. Still, advances in endodontics are enabling endodontists to save teeth that, even a few years ago, would have to be extracted. Also, if endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontists can perform surgery, and possibly save the tooth.