What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association dealing with treatment of the tooth, dental pulp and surrounding tissues.
When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is the root. The outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin. The inside channel, or root canal, contains the pulp, a soft tissue consisting of blood vessels, connective tissue and nerves. The pulp extends from the tip of the root(s) to the crown, and is an important component in the tooth’s growth and development. When the tooth becomes fully mature, the pulp can be successfully removed and the tooth will continue to be nourished by the surrounding tissues.
Bacteria introduced into the pulp because of tooth decay, periodontal disease, or a fracture can cause inflammation or infection, possibly resulting in pain and swelling. Damage to the pulp may also occur even if the tooth has no visible deterioration.
To save the tooth and prevent further problems, the root canal is treated. After successful therapy, your general dentist will restore the tooth to normal function.
What causes endodontic problems?
Root canal treatment is performed when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Usually the cause for inflammation or infection is a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth or extensive restorative treatment. The signs of pulpal damage can include pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, color changes and swelling or soreness in the gums.
Once the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal or extraction is necessary to remove the affected tissue and restore the area to health.
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