A branch of dentistry that studies the diagnosis and treating of oral pain and inflammation and infection of the soft tissue od the tooth (dental pulp) and the periapical tissues.
Endodontics is completely concerned with all of the conditions that affect the internal tissues of the tooth. It comes from the Greek words endo which means inside and odont which means tooth. A dentist who specializes in endodontics is called an endodontist. These dentists have to go through additional education after dental school that usually takes up to three years. They perform a number of procedures including root canal, endodontic surgery, retreatment, traumatic dental injuries and more. Their main goal is to save the tooth and prevent extraction.
The best way to understand this branch of dentistry is to know more about the anatomy of the tooth. The tooth is made of hard tissues that are located on the outside. The crown is covered in enamel, the root is covered in cementum. Both of these tissues are located above the dentin. On the inside of the tooth, there is a chamber that is filled with a soft tissue called pulp. The pulp contains many different cells and also the blood, nerve and lymph vessels. They keep the tooth alive. If the pulp is exposed to damaging factors it can’t be saved anymore, so it has to be extracted.
Root Canal Procedure
This is the most common endodontic procedure. Once the tooth’s pulp is affected by a certain external factor, it has to be properly treated. These factors usually are presented with dental caries. If caries progresses to the dental pulp, it becomes infected with bacteria and their products. This means that the tooth is not going to be vital anymore, instead should be treated with a root canal procedure. It all starts with the removal of the dental decay. The following step includes the extraction of the coronal part of the pulp. Once that is done, the dentist has to locate the entrances of the root canals. Then, he uses special instruments to enter in the canals and completely extract the pulp. He has to leave the canals clean and decontaminated. They are sealed with special dental materials, and that is how the tooth is kept in the mouth. If the treatment is successful, the tooth can stay for a very long time. Sometimes the treatment is not successful, so dentists try with a re-treatment. Other factors that can hurt the pulp are cracks and chips, dental injuries and more. The latest advancements in endodontics include microscopes that help a lot with the procedures.
There are many types of endodontic surgeries, but apicoectomy is the most common one. It includes the resection of the tip of the root and the diseased surrounding tissue. That is how the inflammation around the tip is completely removed. It is a simple surgical procedure done under anesthesia. So there will be no pain during the apicoectomy.
Traumatic Dental Injuries
These injuries are very common, especially in the early age. Endodontists are the ones that take care of teeth in these situations and are trying to keep them in the mouth.