Endodontics-Who Are They?
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with diseases of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue. Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with the tooth pulp and tissues surrounding the root of a tooth. Endodontists are dentists who have completed an additional 2-3 years of training following dental school. They specialize and limit their practice to root canal therapy and root canal surgery, and use their special training and experience in treating difficult cases, such as teeth with narrow or blocked anal, or unusual anatomy. Endodontists may use advanced technology, such as operating microscopes, ultrasonic and digital imaging, to perform these special services, and often have great experience in successfully treating patient who present in pain.
The most common procedure done in Endodontics is root-canal therapy. Root canal therapy involves the removal of diseased pulp tissue inside the tooth. The aim of treatment is to prevent or eliminate the development of inflammation outside the root by removing the diseased/infected pulp and then sealing the root canal systems with a biocompatible material. When the pulp tissue becomes infected, caused by bacteria from inside the tooth, the infection can leak out of the tooth's root and make the surrounding bone ill and painful or cause an abscess to form. Once the diseased pulp tissues are removed, the body's defense system can then repair the damage created by disease.
· Tooth pain
· Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
· Tenderness to touch and chewing, and discoloration of the tooth
· Sometimes there are no symptoms.
Most root canals can be performed in one appointment, depending upon the complexity of the case. Endodontists use local anesthetics to make the procedure virtually pain-free. It is considered a standard of care to use a rubber dam in order to isolate the tooth and provide a clean environment. An opening then is made on the top of the tooth. Then the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and shaped for filling and sealing. Endodontists then refer patients back to their general dentist for placement of a permanent crown or other restoration. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Other procedures practiced in Endodontics include incision for drainage and periradicular surgery (apicoectomy). These treatments generally are needed in cases of abscesses, root fractures, and problematic tooth anatomy.