What is endodontics? It is the branch of dentistry that studies and treats problems with the pulp of teeth. The pulp is the soft, innermost part of your teeth. It contains all the tooth’s nerve tissue and blood vessels. It is well-protected by the hard enamel shell and the dentin, a softer layer of material under the enamel.
You probably already know that cavities are formed by bacterial deposits which attack the teeth. If a cavity burrows its way through the enamel and the dentin and reaches the pulp, this live, vital tissue will quickly be invaded by that bacteria. An infection will form. Because the inner part of a tooth is an enclosed space with limited access to the infection-fighting resources of the body, this infection does not normally resolve on its own.
The pulp of the tooth will gradually begin to die after this contamination from bacteria. At some point, it’s very likely that the tooth will begin to ache. It could be a dull ache or a sharp pain that wakes you up at night. The tooth might hurt if you bite down on it or tap it lightly with a hard object. The pain might also change when you bend over, stand up or sit down. Sometimes the pain comes and goes and sometimes it is persistent.
However it feels, what is essential is that you get in touch with us the first minute you can. Whether there is a need for root canal therapy or there’s some other problem going on, pain in a tooth is a call for help.
What Happens If the Infection Gets Worse?
As we have already mentioned, this tooth is a closed space. With infection brewing inside the tooth, the pressure inside the tooth will increase. Finally, the infected material will begin to leak outside the tooth. This leakage sets you up for more serious infections in the bones of your jaw or even in your heart. If you hear that you need root canal therapy, you should have it done as soon as possible.
The Root Canal Therapy
The tools to perform root canal therapy are always getting better so it is always getting easier and faster to perform this therapy. That’s good for you, the patient, because it means less time in the chair and better healing.
Here are the basic steps of root canal therapy:
- The dentist carefully examines the tooth and x-rays to ensure he knows as much as possible what the tooth is like inside.
- After numbing the patient thoroughly, the dentist drills an opening in or near the top of the tooth.
- The exact length of the nerve is measured.
- The nerve canal that reaches down to the tip of the tooth is carefully cleaned out with a series of tiny pointed files. The canal is washed and disinfected many times as this happens.
- The canal is then filled with a sterile, rubbery material.
- A temporary filling is placed over the access hole at the top.
Now you and your dentist will need to discuss the final step of your treatment. Most teeth need to be protected with a crown, as root canal therapy makes a tooth brittle over time. The plus is that your tooth has been preserved. We want to make it possible for you to keep every tooth you can. Root canal therapy is a good solution for many patients.
If you are experiencing any pain in your teeth, even if it comes and goes, please call us and let us diagnose the problem. Call Bloomfield Hills Dental Associates at 248-290-2900 to schedule an appointment to find out the cause of your problem.