Endodontics focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions related to the dental pulp, or the interior part of the tooth.
The dental pulp contains nerves, tissue, and blood vessels. It supports the root of the tooth during the development phase. Once the tooth is fully developed, it can survive without the dental pulp by sourcing nutrients from outside tissues.
Endodontic therapy may be necessary if the dental pulp becomes infected. The dentist specializing in this area is called 'an endodontist.'
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Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that treats infected teeth.
If the dental pulp is decayed, bacteria can invade the tooth. To save the tooth, the decayed tooth structure must be removed, and the tooth interior must be cleaned.
The root of the tooth can extend down to the jawbone, so it's important to examine a decay right away to check the extent of the damage and the right steps to take.
Also, it's possible for one tooth to have multiple root canals, so this can be a complex procedure. Surgery may be necessary if non-surgical procedures aren't enough to treat the tooth (e.g., if debris has already calcified and reached the root of the tooth).
There's an impression that root canal therapy is painful, so many shy away from it or are hesitant to go through it. However, removing the tooth isn't always the best solution during an infection.
The procedure itself shouldn't be painful. The infection is the cause of the pain, and getting rid of it can help you feel better. Here are the usual steps involved in root canal therapy:
Your endodontist or dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the area. They clean the root canal and remove the decayed pulp.
Then, they decontaminate the hollow canal. Afterward, it is filled and sealed. Removing the pulp will also take away the tooth's sensation. You will no longer feel pain, as the tissues have been taken out.
The tooth will still survive without pulp, but it'll become more fragile. To strengthen it, your dentist may recommend getting a crown. Until the procedure is complete, you need to be very careful when using the area. Avoid pressure, biting, or heavy chewing on the root canal.
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