Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental pulp disease, dental roots and periapical granuloma (treatment of pus around the root).
Endodontic treatment (“root canal treatment”) is necessary when the pulp becomes irreversibly inflamed or necrotic (it dies). If pulp infection, initially located inside the tooth, is left untreated, it can spread in time to the jawbone and the soft tissues around the tooth. This pathological process causes persistent pain due to pulp inflammation, irritation of tissues surrounding the root, bone damage, swelling and deformation of neighboring tissues. Only endodontic treatment consisting in cleaning and disinfections of root canals may eliminate in the long term the infection.
During endodontic treatment, the dentist removes swollen or necrotic tissues, cleaning the entire system of canals inside the root of organic debris and bacteria, which he then fills in with a biocompatible substance before he seals it.
During endodontic treatment, the tooth must be completely isolated from the patient’s oral cavity with a rubber dam. This consists of a small frame over which a one time use rectangular sheet of latex is stretched. The rubber dam has one hole that matches the tooth the dentist is working on and is kept on it with a metal clamp. In this way, the dentist sees only the tooth he is working on.
This isolation system displays several advantages:
- saliva and bacteria cannot penetrate from the oral cavity into the tooth,
- canals may be kept clean and dry,
- foreign substances cannot get into the patient’s oral cavity,
- the risk of swallowing the small tools is eliminated,
- the patient may swallow his own saliva, and we no longer need the aspiration device which unpleasantly dries the buccal mucosa,
- the cheeks, tongue, lips and gums are protected from sharp cutting instruments,
- bad taste or caustic irrigation solutions do not come in touch with the patient’s oral cavity, seeing very well,
- the dentist may focus better during delicate maneuvers of the endodontic treatment.
– root canal sterilization (the traditional therapy implies only disinfectants, reducing the risk of recurrency)
– low number of appointments (one appointment in most cases)
– very low recurrence risk
– no pain
– fast periapical tissue regeneration (fast osseous healing around the root)