Endodontics: deals with the tooth pulp and the tissues surrounding the root of a tooth. Endodontists perform a variety of procedures including Endodontic therapy (commonly known as "root canal therapy"), Endodontic retreatment, surgery, treating cracked teeth, and treating dental trauma. Root canal therapy is one of the most common procedures. If the pulp (containing nerves, arterioles, venules, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue) becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
Endodontic procedures are used in the diagnosis and treatment of oral pain involving the pulp and periradicular area (just outside or around the root of the tooth origin). Pulp therapy, such as pulpotomy, is a common endodontic procedure in which dental pulp is removed from the pulp chamber. The nonsurgical treatment of root canals, especially in difficult cases such as teeth with blocked, narrow or unusually positioned canals, also is a major part of endodontic therapy.
Endodontic treatment may also be required for surgical removal of diseased or abnormal (pathologic) tissues, repair procedures associated with the surgical removal of pathologic tissues, repair of cracked teeth or the replacement (replantation) of teeth knocked out (avulsed) by injury.
Additional endodontic procedures include:
• Surgical removal of tooth structure, such as an apicoectomy, or root-end resection (the removal of the root tip and the surrounding infected tissue of an abscessed tooth), hemisection (the process of cutting a tooth with two roots in half) and bicuspidization (procedure to change tricuspid valve into a functioning bicuspid valve)
• Root-end filling
• Endodontic implants, which extend through the root canal into the
periapical bone structure (tip or apex of the root of a tooth), whereas
other types of tooth implants are anchored directly in the gums or jawbones
• Bleaching of dentin and enamel
• Retreatment of teeth previously treated endodontically
• Placement of posts and/or cores to save and strengthen teeth
Signs and Symptoms of Endodontic Problems
You may need endodontic treatment if you experience the following:
• Significant tooth discomfort or pain
• Prolonged tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
• Gum tenderness to the touch and when chewing
• Tooth discoloration
• Drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes, jaw bone and gingival tissues
If a root canal procedure is not performed, an abscess (infected pus pocket) can form at the tip of the tooth root that can be painful. Even if there is no pain, the bone holding the tooth in the jaw can be damaged.