What is endodontic treatment?
Endodontic treatment is commonly referred to as a “root canal.” The root canal is actually the space within the tooth which contains the soft tissue, known as the pulp, which is composed of nerves, blood vessels, and fibrous tissue. Slide 1 The pulp tissue is necessary for the tooth’s development and eruption, but once the tooth is mature, the tooth can survive without the pulp.
Endodontic treatment or root canal treatment involves removal of the diseased pulp tissue and cleansing and filling of the root canal space. The tooth is then restored by the general dentist with a crown or other restoration and can resume normal function.
When is endodontic treatment needed?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. There can be many causes of disease in the pulp such as deep decay, trauma to the tooth, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or a crack or fracture of a tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is not treated, it will cause pain and formation of an abscess.
What are the signs and symptoms of pulp inflammation or infection?
The most common signs of pulp disease are spontaneous pain, pain to biting pressure, and prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold. There may also be swelling of the gum tissue or jawbone and tenderness of the gums. Sometimes, especially with traumatic injuries, the tooth may be discolored. In many cases, there is no pain and your dentist will identify the problem through diagnostic content_containering or routine x-rays.
Who performs endodontic treatment?
All dentists receive some training in endodontic treatment in dental school. Endodontists are dentists with additional advanced specialty training, completing two or three year programs accredited by the American Dental Association, following dental school.
Endodontists perform only endodontic procedures in their specialty practices. In addition to routine procedures, they may perform very difficult and complex procedures which may include endodontic surgery. Approximately one-fourth of endodontists have gone on to successfully complete rigorous certification examinations and are certified as Diplomates of the American Board of Endodontics.