Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the dental pulp and the tissues surrounding the roots of teeth. The dental pulp is the soft, living tissue inside the tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels.
Endodontic treatment is commonly known as root canal treatment, which involves removing the damaged or infected dental pulp from the inside of a tooth and replacing it with a biocompatible material to seal the canal and prevent further infection.
The most common reasons for endodontic treatment include:
1. Tooth decay that has progressed into the pulp of the tooth
2. Trauma or injury that has caused damage to the dental pulp
3. Infection or inflammation of the dental pulp due to gum disease or other conditions
Endodontic treatment typically involves the following steps:
1. Examination and diagnosis: The dentist will examine the tooth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection.
2. Anesthesia and access: Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the tooth. An access hole is then made in the top of the tooth to reach the dental pulp.
3. Removal of pulp: Using specialized instruments, the dentist will remove the damaged or infected pulp from the inside of the tooth.
4. Cleaning and shaping: The dentist will clean and shape the inside of the tooth to prepare it for filling.
5. Filling and sealing: The dentist will fill the tooth with a biocompatible material, such as gutta-percha, and seal it with a temporary or permanent filling.
6. Restoration: After the root canal treatment, the tooth may require a crown or other restoration to restore its shape and function.
Endodontic treatment can help to save a damaged or infected tooth from extraction and prevent the spread of infection to other teeth or parts of the body. It can also alleviate pain and discomfort associated with dental pulp inflammation or infection.