Endodontics is the branch of dentistry specializing in the treatment of the dental pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth.
Though the outer portion of the tooth root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains the pulp with soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Root canals can become infected from tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture, or trauma or injury to the tooth.
An infected tooth may become sensitive to hot or cold food or beverages, or hurt when biting down. The affected tooth may also become discolored, or cause gum swelling and pain. In other cases, a tooth may have no symptoms at all.
A dental exam and x-ray will reveal if a tooth requires root canal treatment.
What happens during a root canal treatment?
Once an infected tooth has been identified, the doctor will drill through the tooth or remove the crown (depending on the extent of the infection), remove the infected pulp and root canal. The doctor will then clean and seal the space so it doesn’t get re-infected by bacteria. After an appropriate follow-up period, you will typically need a crown because the remaining tooth structure has become more brittle and weakened.
What is an apicoectomy?
Occasionally, a non-surgical root canal treatment may not be sufficient to heal the infected tooth. The doctor may recommend an apicoectomy (root-end resection) procedure. During this procedure an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gum is sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months, restoring full function.
Here at Central Dental Group, we are experts in addressing tooth infections and treating toothaches.
Tooth infections can have serious health consequences. If you are suffering from a toothache or related symptoms, contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.