Endodontics is the aspect of dentistry that pertains to the tooth pulp or nerve, soft tissues, and blood supply within a natural tooth. A root canal treatment is the most common endodontic procedure, as it is the procedure that enables us to remove the damaged inner portions of the tooth while keeping the tooth’s outer structure intact.

What Conditions Can Harm the Nerve Within the Tooth?

Bacterial infections – An infection or an abscess is a common cause of endodontic complications. Cavities and injuries can allow bacteria to invade the nerve within the tooth, resulting in inflammation and infection.  This type of infection becomes chronic and will not respond to antibiotics or pain medications alone.

Fractures and cracked teeth – If a large fracture or crack in the tooth leaves the nerve tissue exposed, the inflammation and infection is often irreversible. The injured nerve must be removed before the tooth can be restored with a dental crown.

Injuries and trauma – A direct blow to the mouth can traumatize a tooth to the extent that the nerve is permanently damaged.  An injury that causes the tooth to be completely dislodged from the socket can also result in irreversible nerve death — even if the tooth has been replanted into the socket.

Overview of the Root Canal Procedure

Complete X-rays and other diagnostic tests may need to be performed before and during the root canal procedure. To completely remove the affected nerve and stabilize the tooth, multiple dental visits may be required.

The initial phase of treatment involves the numbing of the tooth and the creation of a small opening in the top of the tooth. Through this opening, small instruments will be used to clean and smooth the interior of the tooth. The nerve tissue is removed and the canals are sterilized to eliminate bacteria. If necessary, a medicated filling will be placed inside of the tooth and left in place for several days to promote healing.

When the canals of the tooth have been cleaned and sterilized, a biocompatible filling material called gutta-percha will be placed inside to seal off the canals from the top of the tooth, down to the tip of the root. A temporary filling may be placed in the biting surface of the tooth until a permanent crown can be cemented into place.

For more answers to your questions about endodontic procedures, call to schedule a consultation at our office today.