Endodontics is an area of dentistry specialising in treatment of diseases in the dental pulp. This includes identifying the cause, diagnoses, prevention and eventual treatment to resolve any issues. As a leading professional dentist in the industry, we understand the importance of offering a full dental service and endodontics provides the complete study of the biology of the dental pulp.
Being able to identify issues before they arise is important, particularly with regards to gum condition and overall dental health.
What is Endodontics?
Endodontics has improved over the last decade, offering treatment surgery to help people maintain dental health and provide root canal therapy among many other procedures. Endodontics is used to help save the tooth when the dental pulp, which contains nerves, arterioles and fibrous tissue, become infected or damaged in some way. Perhaps a tooth becomes cracked and allows debris and food inside, which subsequently results in an infection. At this point endodontic treatment is employed to help resolve the complaint.
Due to the dental pulp containing nerves and lymphatic tissue, the sensitivity of the tooth is extreme and it can be very painful when an infection sets in. The most common treatment for endodontic therapy is root canal treatment but the aim is to provide protection from microbial invasion and to eliminate infection in the tooth and gum.
Endodontic therapy treatment options also include:
- Traumatic dental injuries
- Dental implants
- Endodontic Surgery
- Endodontic retreatment
Root Canal Treatment
One example of a root canal requirement could be if a tooth needed an old filling replacing, due to it being cracked or damaged. If the filling ran deep and an infection took hold, it could run so close to the nerve that a root canal would be the only solution available. Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth and they will always look at all treatment options available to you and advise the best course of action to maintain a healthy mouth. However, although root canals receive a negative reputation, it’s the most common endodontic procedure and the majority of the time, it’s the most effective way to save a tooth and relieve any pain.
It is common in most cases that root canal treatments are similar to routine fillings and depending on the individual case, they can be completed in one or two visits.
Underneath the white enamel and dentin is soft tissue (pulp). Connected to this tissue there are blood vessels and nerves which help grow the root of the tooth. But this also means that when an infection occurs, it can be very sensitive and so a root canal ensures that the infected pulp can be removed and the surrounding connective tissue can help continue to nourish the tooth.
Advantages of saving a natural tooth
- Regular chewing with no affect to normal bite
- Protects other teeth from uneven or excessive strain
- Maintains natural look
It’s not uncommon for teeth that have been saved by previous endodontic treatment work to need further work in the future if they become infected or painful for any reason. Endodontic retreatment allows the opportunity to have a second pass at a tooth that may not have healed correctly.
There are a number of reasons why the tooth may not have healed or becomes infected again. There is also the possibility of new problems occurring. These include:
- A fractured tooth
- New decay which results in an infection
- Damaged filling or crown, allowing an infection to occur
The materials used to fill in the root canals will be taken out in order to examine the tooth. Whilst looking for new infections, the specialist will remove any infection, clean and shape the opening and refill. Further sealing and complete fillings and crowns can be provided afterwards.
Retreatment is something that will give you peace of mind, knowing that should a problem arise with any root canal or other endodontic treatment you’ve had done, you can get help and have it resolved by a professional and by someone who is familiar with the original work carried out.
What is Endontic surgery and when is it needed
Sometimes even the most skilled endodontist will have to prescribe endodontic surgery, should regular treatment not be adequate. In most cases root canal treatment will be successful. However, when it’s not enough to save your tooth, surgery may be recommended and required to treat damaged roots and the bone around the tooth in question.
With a number of procedures available in endodontic surgery, we have a lot of options to resolve most dental issues and with advanced technology such as digital imaging and high-tech equipment available to specialists, it’s never been easier to perform complex procedures safely and to deliver them with the minimum amount of discomfort. Sutures and stitches may be used to help seal and repair the tissue and normally the bone will start to heal at the end of the root itself.
Is Endodontic surgery painful?
Local anaesthesia may be applied depending on the procedure needed but this will be discussed with you beforehand to check that there are no known allergies relating to the anaesthetic. The purpose of endodontic surgery is to remove infected tissue or inflamed tissue which cannot be safely removed during regular treatment. With roots being removed as well, anaesthetic is the best option to avoid root canal treatment pain.
Endodontic surgery recovery time
It can vary depending on the procedure and treatment you have received but usually as the bone heals around the root, it can take months for it to “complete” its healing process. With regards to how it will impact you after the procedure, you should be able to eat and drink normally within 24 hours. Obviously we recommend taking care to stick to soft foods and mild temperature drinks for the first couple of days, just to be on the safe side in case of sensitivity but again, this will vary on the individual case.