Root canal procedures have a reputation for being long and painful. Dr. Bonanno is a specialist in doing root canals. For over ten years, he has specialized and concentrated on making root canals as fast and gentle as possible. No one wants a root canal, but at Dental Care of Stamford, we make every effort to make it as painless as possible.
And now, for your reading enjoyment, our home study course in Endo 101!
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the dental pulp (the tooth’s soft core).
Figure A. Diagram of a healthy tooth
What is the dental pulp?
The pulp is a soft tissue that contains the nerves, arteries, veins, and lymph vessels of a tooth.
Figure B. An abscessed (infected) tooth caused by tooth-decay
What happens to the damaged pulp?
When the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself, the pulp dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a fracture or a deep cavity that exposes the pulp to saliva. The bacteria found in saliva cause infection inside the tooth. Left untreated, the infection eventually causes the pulp to die. (see Figure B above). Pus builds up at the root tip, forming an abscess that can destroy the supporting bone that surrounds the tooth.
Figure C. An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber
Why does the pulp need to be removed?
If the damaged or diseased pulp is not removed, the tooth and surrounding tissues become infected. Pain and swelling may accompany the infection. Without endodontic treatment, your tooth will eventually have to be removed
Figure D. The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged, and shaped.
What does endodontic treatment involve?
During these treatments, your dentist or Endodontist (a dentist who specializes in disorders of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal (s) of the tooth are then cleaned, shaped, filled and sealed to prevent recontamination of the root canal system.
Figure E. During these treatments, we remove the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal (s) of the tooth are then cleaned, shaped, filled and sealed to prevent re-contamination of the root canal system.
The crown of the tooth is then restored. Endodontic treatment can safely and comfortably save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. In fact, root canal therapy is successful well over 95 % of the time Remember a healthy restored tooth is always better than an artificial one.How long will the restored tooth last?
Your endodontically treated and restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. As long as the root(s) of an endodontically treated tooth are properly nourished by the surrounding tissues, your tooth will remain healthy.
In order to maintain healthy tissues and prevent future dental disease, you should:
- Clean between your teeth once daily
- Eat balanced meals and reduce the number of times you snack
- Brush with the proper Doctor-recommended toothpaste twice daily
- Use fluoride daily
- Visit your dentist regularly
These measures will help you keep your natural teeth and enjoy good dental health for a lifetime.