What is an endodontic treatment?
Endodontists address the inside of the tooth. We can see this reflected in the name “endo” means inside in Greek and “don’t” means tooth. The most common procedure performed by an endodontist is a root canal. These procedures are designed to treat a problematic pulp. The pulp is the soft interior of the tooth which extends from the crown to the tip of the roots. When an irritation or infection is left alone, it can cause an abscess to develop. This is when the infection has reached all the way down to the root-end opening and has spread to the surrounding bone tissue.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
- Initially, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and surrounding tissues. Then, the endodontist will place a small protective sheet, known as a dental dam, over the area to keep the tooth clean and free of saliva.
- The endodontist will then create a small opening in the top of the tooth’s crown. Tiny instruments are used to clean out the infected pulp chamber and root canals which extend down into the jaw. The clean space will then be shaped for filling.
- The root canals will then be filled with a biocompatible material. A material similar to rubber termed gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is secured with an adhesive cement to completely seal the root canals. Typically, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening while a permanent crown is being ordered.
- Patients will return to the office one final time to have a crown or similar restoration device secured to the tooth to protect it and restore its function.
- When the structure of the tooth has been compromised, and it cannot hold a restoration device, a post may be placed inside the tooth and down into the roots.
Will the tooth need any special care afterward?
Patients should not chew or bite down on the affected tooth until a restoration device has been installed. Before this, the tooth is vulnerable to fracture. Patients should then continue good oral hygiene habits. Most treated teeth last as long as natural teeth.
Root Canal Treatment Step by Step
Need a root canal? Don’t be anxious. This informative video will walk you step-by-step through the procedure and explain how endodontists, the root canal specialists, can save your teeth.
Root Canal is Completely Safe
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