Endodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that deals with the complex structures found inside the teeth. The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth” and relates to the tooth pulp, tissues, nerves, and vessels. Endodontists receive additional dental training after completing dental school to enable them to perform both simple and complex endodontic procedures, including but not limited to; root canal therapy, root canal retreatments, and apicoectomies.
Historically, a tooth with a dead and infected nerve space would be removed immediately, but endodontists are now able to save the natural tooth in most cases. Generally, cleaning and sterilizing the inner tooth structures, and then restoring structure and creating a tight seal with a crown restores health and functionality to damaged teeth.
Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth. Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:
Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the tooth moist and cells on the tooth alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed to its socket using a special splint, and the dentist or endodontist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.
What does an endodontic procedure involve?
The space will then be shaped, cleaned, and filled with gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the root canals are completely sealed off. Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.