What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a speciality within Dentistry. It is concerned with the study of the form, function and health of the dental pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth containing the internal nerves, blood supply & connective tissue). It includes the prevention & treatment of problems (injuries and diseases) in the dental pulp and the area around the root tip region. Discovering the source / cause of oral & facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose is an integral part of endodontic practice.
If problems are detected early enough procedures can completed which maintain the health of all or part of the dental pulp.
If the dental pulp is diseased or injured, treatment is aimed at preserving the normal tissues around the root tip.
When there is inflammation surrounding the root tip (abscess formation) treatment is aimed at restoring these tissues to health. This is usually carried out by root canal treatment, occasionally in combination with surgical endodontics.
Begins with a consultation & examination. The area of concern will be examined & diagnostic digital x-rays taken. Your treatment options will be reviewed & a decision taken as to whether root canal treatment is required.
If root canal treatment is required the area is made numb with a local anaesthetic. The damaged nerve & bacteria are removed from inside the tooth. The area is disinfected & the roots sealed to prevent reinfection. A temporary cover will be placed to seal the top of the tooth. Where possible treatment is carried out in one visit, but this depends on what is required.
After treatment you will be given anti inflammatory medication as required. Your general dentist will be sent a post treatment report & you will need to see them within one month for final restoration of your tooth.
The aim of endodontic treatment is to preserve functional teeth and maintain a healthy, natural dentition.
The area to be treated is completely anaesthetised (made numb). A sheet of latex / non latex rubber (dental dam) is placed around the area to be treated. This is to isolate the area from the rest of the mouth, provide a bacteria & saliva proof seal. It provides a dry field to enable the endodontist to carry out treatment. It has the added benefit to providing greater patient comfort & safety plus it minimises the number of “bits” that need to rinsed out after treatment. The endodontist uses various instruments & disinfectants to provide the required treatment. In all cases a surgical microscope is used to assist in diagnosis & improve the treatment outcome.
Relief from pain / discomfort. Allows you to keep your tooth in function. Permits bone healing / regeneration in cases where the bone around the root tip has been damaged. Most importantly gets you healthy and allows you to eat again with comfort. No artificial tooth replacement as yet invented can serve you as well as you own natural tooth & last a lifetime.
This is required when conventional root canal therapy alone hasn’t achieved the required outcome or where there is no access to the root canal system with standard techniques. It is indispensible in locating root fractures & diagnosing cracked roots. The most common procedure is an Apicectomy. Apicectomies are most frequently carried out on upper & lower front teeth.
Post operative Instructions
It is usual for a tooth to feel bruised for a few days after root canal treatment. This can usually be controlled by taking a short course of anti inflammatory medications immediately after treatment.
In the first week following treatment the tooth will be tender to bite on so it is best to avoid putting any direct biting pressure on it. A soft diet is advised, this will minimise discomfort during the initial healing phase.
Female patients who are taking or have been prescribed antibiotics need to be aware that there can be an interaction between antibiotics & oral contraceptives. You are asked to please use alternative means of birth control for your entire cycle that month.
- Download the post root canal treatment advice
- Download the surgery post op instructions
- Download the post extraction advice sheet
American Association of Endodontists: www.aae.org/patients