Endodontic treatment: What is it and do you need it at your next dental visit?
Endodontic is a medical term derived from the Greek eno, which means within, and odous, which means tooth. Essentially, endodontics is the treatment of infection inside your teeth.
Maybe you’ve never heard of endodontic treatment before, but you have heard of root canals, a more common term for this type of dental treatment. An endodontist is a dentist who has undergone additional years of training within this specific specialty, but many general and family dentists offer root canal therapy as well.
Are your teeth in need of endodontic treatment?
Talk to Your Dentist When You Notice These Signs
Your teeth exhibit some key signs when they aren’t completely healthy on the inside. Whether due to decay or injury, if you notice any of the following, don’t hesitate to make a dental appointment:
- Pain when you bite down or chew
- Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold
- Darker appearance of a tooth
- Swelling gums around a bothersome tooth
All of these signals are telling you something isn’t quite right with your tooth. When infection spreads to a tooth’s inner pulp — the chamber that contains all the nerves and blood vessels your tooth needs to thrive — only endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) can restore your tooth.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Most likely, your dentist will take X-rays to assess the infection’s extent. Next you will get a local anesthetic to numb the area and minimize your discomfort. Your dentist will create a small hole in the surface of the affected tooth, usually in the crown area, and carefully remove all the infected pulp, placing a filling back in the opening afterward.
Endodontic Treatment Can Save Your Tooth
Inner tooth decay that isn’t addressed with effective endodontic treatment turns into a bigger problem. Infection can spread to the surrounding gums and the jawbone. Eventually, your teeth may die completely, become loose and fall out. When you get root canal therapy, you’re attacking the source of the infection.
Maybe you need root canal therapy because your tooth was cracked or fractured in an accident. Even if you don’t have an infection yet, you still need endodontic treatment, because a dentist can’t put a crown on an injured tooth unless he or she knows for sure that no bacteria is embedded, waiting to cause an infection.
The tooth’s interior must be cleaned out before its look and function is restored, just to make sure you don’t have any problems in the future.
Save your teeth today with endodontic treatment — contact Oak Hills Dentistry for pain relief and to feel confident again in your smile.