Have you heard the dental term “endodontics” and wondered what it meant? You’re not alone. Many people aren’t familiar with this field of dental treatments and look mystified if they hear they need endodontics at our Huntsville, AL dental office.
The truth is, you probably have heard of one specific type of endodontic therapy before. You just know it by its more common name – “root canal.”
Wait, don’t go!
Okay, we know that root canals have a bad reputation. But we want you to know that this reputation is actually unfair. Root canals (along with other endodontic therapies) are actually useful treatments that allow us to relieve pain, treat an infection, and even save your tooth.
It’s also not true that root canal therapy hurts. It’s actually the infection we are treating that hurts, and root canal therapy will relieve your pain so you can start to feel like yourself again.
Endodontics are a specific type of dentistry that deals mainly with the soft inner portion of your tooth, which is known as the pulp, and the roots that hold your teeth in place.
Your tooth is made up of layers. The outermost layer, the part you can see, is the enamel, which is the hardest material in your body. Beneath the enamel is a slightly softer and more porous layer, called dentin. Both of these layers protect the pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels of your tooth. These nerves and blood vessels connect with the rest of your system through the roots of your teeth.
When bacteria reach the pulp of your tooth, infection and pain are likely to be the results. This can occur in a few different ways, but the most common are through a deep cavity or damage to the tooth like a crack.
Infections in the teeth generally don’t resolve on their own. The pain may eventually stop, but this usually means that the nerve has died – the infection is still there and can still create major problems such as spreading to other teeth or into your bloodstream.
While a root canal isn’t the only type of endodontic therapy, it’s probably the most common. Before beginning this procedure, Dr. King will make sure that you are numb and completely comfortable. He’ll begin by accessing the pulp of your tooth. Once there, he’ll use a special set of tools designed specifically for this treatment to clean out the infection and remove the damaged nerve.
Finally, he’ll fill the tooth and seal it to prevent reinfection.
Teeth often become brittle following root canal therapy, so Dr. King may recommend a crown to protect the tooth. He will discuss your options with you so you know what to expect and can make informed decisions about your dental health.
Do you have more questions about endodontics? Are you in pain and wondering if this therapy could help?
Related Services: Endodontics (Root Canals)