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Endodontic treatment refers to the treatment of the inside of the tooth. Knowing the anatomy of the tooth will help you understand this branch better. A tooth has three layers, The outer hard enamel, the middle dentin and the center is called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development stage. Once a tooth is fully developed it can survive without the pulp since the tooth continues to get nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
Endodontic intervention is necessary when the pulp becomes infected or inflamed. The infection or inflammation can be due to several reasons: repeated dental procedures on the tooth, deep decay, faulty fillings or crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Additionally, trauma to the tooth may damage the pulp even if the tooth has no visible cracks or chip. If pulp infection or inflammation is left untreated, it can cause pain, pus formation and eventual tooth loss. Signs of pulp damage include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, and tenderness and swelling in the nearby gums.
Depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances, endodontic treatment usually can be completed in one sitting. It involves the following steps:
Endodontists have an additional two or more years of specialized training beyond dental school. Many endodontists use state-of-the-art technology such as digital imaging, operating microscopes, fiber optics and ultrasonic instrumentation to treat their patients quickly yet comfortably.
Getting a root canal treatment done is no more uncomfortable than having a filling. In fact, root canal treatment does not cause any pain but actually relieves it. Technological advancements have made the treatment a virtually pain-free experience, many a times results being achieved in a single visit. Endodontists understand a great deal about pain management. A vast majority of patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure due to modern techniques and anesthetics.
There is nothing to be worried about. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, most dental clinics use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery.
Some patients may experience toothache for a while and then it goes away on its own with the help of antibiotics. However just because the pain has gone, does not mean the tooth is no longer infected. Root canal treatment is designed to disinfect the source of infection and stop the spread of infection.
Some patients may not experience any pain at all even with an infected tooth. Many a times, root canal infection is discovered through routine radiographs and/or clinical examination. This is a case of a chronic infection that the body has accommodated enough to not have gone beyond the patient’s threshold of pain
Prior to performing any root canal, the endodontist will thoroughly examine all the clinical and radiographical findings to determine if a root canal is indicated.
If it is possible, saving your natural teeth is the best option. Nothing can completely replace the look and feel of a natural tooth. You might be asked to avoid certain food due to your artificial tooth. Your dentist will only advice you to go for an extraction if there is no way of saving the tooth.
Endodontic treatment, along with the appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth compared to extraction and replacement with a bridge or an implant. Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate, lasting even a lifetime. Placement of a bridge or an implant requires a greater number of visits to the clinic and is dependent on your general health.
The length of a Root Canal Treatment depends on the details of the procedure you are having and the type of tooth involved. Ideally the treatment would last 1-2 hours. While the treatment itself can often be completed in one visit at times, more sittings may be needed.
When your root canal treatment has been completed, your dentist will decide on what type of restoration is needed to protect your tooth.
Saving your tooth through endodontic treatment depends completely on the level of decay and the teeth in question. However endodontic treatment is comparatively less expensive and invasive than tooth extraction and eventually replacing the missing tooth with a bridge or implant