What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the dental pulp (the tooth's soft core.) Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were extracted. Today, endodontic treatment gives dentists a safe and effective means of saving teeth. Coastal Dentistry uses the most modern equipment and techniques, routinely finishing treatment quickly and pain free- and with the least amount of post-appointment pain! Please ask us about this exciting new procedure, and SAVE YOUR TEETH!
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if one of your teeth should become critically injured or diseased, it can oftentimes be saved through a dental procedure known as endodontic treatment. To help you understand when and why such a procedure might be needed and how a damaged tooth can be saved, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about endodontic treatment.
What is dental pulp?
The pulp is a soft tissue that contains the nerves, arteries, veins and lymph vessels of a tooth.
Why does the pulp need to be removed?
If the damaged or diseased pulp is not removed, the tooth and surrounding tissues become infected. Pain and swelling may accompany the infection.
What material will be used for the crown?
The type of material used for the crown will depend upon where the tooth is located in your mouth.
How long will the restored tooth last?
Your endodontically treated and restored tooth could last a lifetime.
What does endodontic treatment involve?
Treatment usually requires from one to three appointments. During these treatments, your dentist or a specialist called an endodontist removes the diseased pulp.
What happens to the damaged pulp?
When the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself, the pulp dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a tooth fracture or a deep cavity that exposes the pulp to saliva.
Why couldn't you just remove the tooth?
The choice is yours, but there are many disadvantages to losing a tooth.
Removing the Pulp
First, the tooth is isolated from the saliva with a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber placed around the tooth.) An opening is then made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber. You may be given a local anesthetic prior to this step so that you will be more comfortable during treatment.
The pulp is then carefully removed from both the pulp chamber and the root canal(s). The root canal is cleaned, enlarged and shaped to a form that can be properly filled.
Medication can be put in the pulp chamber and root canals between appointments to help eliminate bacteria and prevent infection.
Restoring the Tooth
A temporary filling will be placed in an opening in the crown of the tooth to protect the pulp chamber and root canals. If the pulp was severely infected, your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You may also be given antibiotics to help the body infection that has spread beyond the tooth.
During the next stage of treatment, the temporary filling is removed. The pulp chamber and root canals are then filled and permanently sealed with a material that prevents bacteria from re-entering the canal.
The crown of the tooth is restored. In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth to restore structure, function and appearance. If an endodontist performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to your family dentist for this final step.