Endodontics

Save a tooth through endodontics (root canal therapy)

Tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth fracture can introduce bacteria into the inner portion of the tooth (pulp) causing pain. This leads to infection and damage to the pulp, which call for endodontic treatment or root canal treatment. This is basically what endodontics is all about, treatment of diseased pulp. The purpose is to save the tooth and do away with extraction.

Increased sensitivity

If a tooth becomes unusually sensitive to hot or cold, this could indicate a damaged nerve. Watch out for pain after drinking a hot or cold beverage, especially if the pain lingers. Normally, a tooth nerve becomes sensitive only for a few seconds and adapts to the change in temperature and becomes desensitized. When the pain lingers much longer than that, it indicates a damaged nerve.

Pain when biting or chewing

Occasionally a tooth will develop a split or hairline fracture that will cause inflammation to the pulp presenting as pain to biting and to heat/cold. The concept of the ‘cracked tooth syndrome’ is now well documented. The treatment to alleviate the pain will often require endodontics.

Swelling

A swollen area below a tooth could indicate infection and abscess draining into the root and adjacent tissue. At times the infection may be visible as a tiny lump. This is a painful infection that requires immediate treatment.

Injury

Depending on the manner an accident or injury affected your teeth, a root canal may or may not be necessary. For instance, when a tooth is accidentally knocked out of its socket but is still intact and complete, it can be fitted back into position before its nerve dies and root resorption occurs. This procedure must be done quickly because the nerve dies quite rapidly.

Saving the tooth

Back in the day, infections to the root or pulp require extraction. But revolutionized methods in dentistry allow alternatives to losing your tooth. With endodontic treatment, the infected pulp is removed and the interior of the tooth is cleaned. It will then be filled with a rubber-like material and seal the exterior of the tooth with a crown.

This procedure restores the natural function of the tooth, so you bite and chew with it just like before. The crown or filling protects the tooth from friction and pressure during biting and grinding. The good thing about endodontic treatment is that it can preserve the tooth for a lifetime as long as you take good care of it and practice proper oral hygiene.