Endodontics and Root Canals
Endodontics is a specialty in dentistry that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of decayed teeth. It focuses on the root Canals of teeth following inflammation or infection in the internal structure of teeth. ‘Root canal’ is a term used to refer to the root level of a tooth. It then is the basis of root canal treatment in Mississauga.
What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp?
Root canal treatment is necessary for treating a tooth whose pulp has been damaged and infected. This is a common occurrence under some of the following situations:
- Tooth breakage – when a tooth breaks, it exposes more of its structure. This can increase tooth sensitivity since the internal parts are exposed to bacteria that live in the mouth.
- Facial injury – some patients involved in traumatic accidents can have the nerve endings of their teeth injured. This can lead to toothaches and severe migraine headaches. Removal of the pulp can resolve the problem.
- Tooth decay – it is the leading reason for patients needing endodontic treatment. Tooth decay follows poor oral hygiene that allows plaque and tartar to sit for too long on the surfaces of teeth.
The Process of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay starts by affecting the enamel of teeth. The buildup of plaque, acids, food residues and bacteria form in the surfaces of teeth. They then damage the enamel by creating holes called cavities. If patients are proactive with their oral health, the cavities can be treated at this stage with a dental filling. If not, it advances to the next level.
The cavity on the tooth creates a passage into the internal parts of the tooth. The infection gets into the central part, the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber houses the nerve endings, blood vessels and soft tissues of the tooth. When the chamber is infected, the patient experiences pain and increased tooth sensitivity. This is what causes toothaches. Further, the infection allows for the formation of abscesses in the root area. Without treatment like endodontic therapy, the abscess spreads the infection to other parts of the mouth. For some patients, the pain is too extreme that they require tooth extraction as the solution to alleviate the pain.
What Happens During Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is different from root extraction. It is an opportunity to save a natural tooth that has suffered decay. However, the process involves losing a part of your tooth. Technically, endodontic treatment involves removing the contents of the pulp chamber. When the pulp is removed, the tooth is without blood vessels, nerve endings, and other soft tissues. This will ensure that the sensitivity of that tooth no longer exists. The treatment also involves removing the abscesses at the root of the tooth, while cleaning out all the infection and bacteria from the tooth.
For that to happen, the treatment involves the following steps:
- Local anesthesia – it helps numb the area in readiness for dental works. Since the tooth is already aching, working on it will only increase the pain levels. The numbing will allow your endodontist to work smoothly without interference.
- Drilling an access hole – the dentist or endodontist has to create a small entry point in your tooth from the enamel. This process will call for drilling. The access hole will allow the use of special tools to get to the central part of the tooth.
- Cleaning – the cleaning process involves removing the pulp and all its content. It is also the stage of cleaning out all the infection in the tooth. A mature tooth can survive without the pulp chamber. Once it is fully developed, it does not require nerve endings or blood vessels to stay alive and functional. As long as it is still attached to the gum tissue, the tooth can last several years.
- Closing the hole – the cavity and an access hole in the tooth have to be covered after the treatment. This is usually the final step of the procedure. In some cases, dental fillings are used to close the holes. However, dental crowns can also be used to cover the tooth. Most teeth that require the use of dental crowns are usually severely damaged in the enamel.