College of Dentistry Patient Care: Root Canal

Endodontics (Endodontic Treatment) (Root Canal Treatment): The branch of dentistry concerned with treating the diseased human dental pulp (tissue found inside the tooth) and soft tissue and bone found around the end of the root. 

Endodontic treatment includes, but is not limited to, the differential diagnosis and treatment of oral pains originating from teeth.

The outside layer of your teeth is covered in enamel. This is the hardest substance in the body and it has no nerve endings.  The layer underneath the enamel is dentin. This layer is a little softer than the enamel and it has some nerve endings in it.  At the very center of the tooth is the pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves.

Cavities that penetrate the enamel can spread inside the softer dentin causing the tooth to be sensitive to cold or to sweets.  As the cavity increases in size, it may invade the pulp and cause moderate to severe pain.  This pain can start by itself or even wake you up in the middle of the night.  When the pulp of the tooth becomes inflamed, infected or abscessed, the choices are to extract the tooth or to perform root canal treatment.  Infections that escape out the end of the root and through the bone can be serious and require immediate treatment.

A root canal treatment involves cleaning and filling the spaces or canals found within the root(s) of the tooth.  After root canal treatment is completed the crown of the tooth must be restored with a filling. In order to assure healing and success, your dentist will recommend that a crown or similar restoration be placed upon completion of endodontic treatment.

Root canal treatment and a crown will help to maintain the integrity and chewing ability of your natural teeth. Followed by routine check ups and good oral hygiene, properly restored endodontically treated teeth can last a lifetime.

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