Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics literally means inside the tooth. 

What is Endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment is the treatment performed to maintain the vitality of the tooth, or the treatment of a dying or dead tooth. Once the tooth is dead the treatment is normally called root canal treatment or a root filling.

Picture showing the pulp (nerve of the tooth) in the root canals. 
When you look at a tooth when someone smiles at you, the white part of the tooth that is visible is called the crown. The white material is called enamel. Under this hard white layer is another hard layer called dentine, and in the middle of the tooth is a soft tissue called the pulp. Most people call the pulp the nerve of the tooth. It is in fact full of blood vessels, connective tissues as well as nerve tissue.

As you can see from the picture the pulp starts in the crown of the tooth and carries on into the bit of the tooth under the gum called the root.
Although very important during growth and development, once mature a tooth can survive without a pulp. The tooth remains alive as it is nourished by the surrounding tissues.

Why does a tooth need to have Endodontic treatment?

A dead, inflamed or tooth infected with a dental abscess will need endodontic treatment
If a tooth has deep decay, repeated dental treatment, is cracked, chipped or even if it just receives a blow without any visible signs of damage, this can cause a pulp to get inflamed or infected. If this is left untreated this can lead to pain, pulp death, or an abscess.

Sometimes there may not be any symptoms. Other times there can be pain, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, discolouration of the tooth, looseness of the tooth, or swelling and tenderness of the gum.

There is no real substitute for your own tooth in terms of health and investment.





Illustrations reproduced with permission from the American Association of Endodontists