What is endodontics?
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that encompasses the practice of the basic and clinical sciences of normal dental pulp. It also studies the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases as well as injuries of the dental pulp along with associated periradicular conditions. Did you know that “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth” ? That’s because it treats the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth.
What is an endodontist and what does he do?
Endodontists are dentists who treat problems involving the inside of the tooth, an area known as the “tooth pulp”. They specialize in tooth pain, disease, and infection and have extra training that helps them diagnose and treat tooth pain. Furthermore, ClassDent endodontists perform root canals which is a special procedure designed to save an infected or decayed tooth. You don’t want the pulp to be left alone, because, as a result, it will become inflamed and painful, and ultimately, the tooth will die.
How does an endodontist test a tooth?
The endodontist will need to run a few endodontic diagnostic tests before receiving a root canal or other endodontic treatment. We will mention some of the most common types of endodontic diagnostic tests you can expect to experience at your ClassDent visit.
Without further ado let’s get started.
First, ClassDent endodontists will conduct a visual exam to look for signs of infection, awkward bite, facial asymmetry, or other symptoms. Of course, this is not our main source of diagnostic information, but there are some clues a trained eye like ours can quickly recognize. Talking with you about your symptoms, where and when you experience pain, and other aspects of your overall health and history helps a lot too. We treat you as a whole person because we know that what goes on in your whole body impacts what’s happening in your mouth, and vice versa.
When we ask questions please be sure to always give your honest answers in the moment rather than over-rehearsing answers. Remember that by getting to know you, we can better treat you.
Imaging is essential it allows us to see better what is going on inside your tooth. The root canal system is so exquisitely tiny and that’s why we rely on imaging to enlarge the area and make it easier for us to see those minuscule details.
At ClassDent, we use tools that give us a “clear picture” and serve as a map to your best treatment, including:
- Digital radiography which is an advanced non-film system. It produces 90% less radiation than low-dose dental x-rays helping us understand what’s going on inside your teeth and mouth. This way we can design a treatment plan that can resolve your concerns.
- Another specialized imaging system is Cone Beam 3D technology. It provides three-dimensional images of your teeth, soft tissues, nerve pathways, and bone, all within a single scan.
Endodontists use a series of tests to evaluate the vitality of a patient’s dental pulp. Tests assess the reaction of the pulp to temperatures (cold or hot), and how it responds to an electric test and cavity tests.
Conducting thermal tests on the cervical aspect of the tooth helps to get more feedback too. This is the location with the thinnest enamel, so it is closest to the pulp. ClassDent endodontist will be looking for feedback from you on the intensity, duration, and immediacy of the response.
ClassDent endodontist may perform periapical tests to help locate the offending tooth, and also learn how far the infection has progressed. We all know that information is power, especially when it comes to diagnosis! Sometimes, many patients have difficulty describing exactly where the pain comes from. However, the periodontal ligament does have proprioceptors, so once the issue has spread to the ligament, it is easier to identify the source through percussion and palpation tests. Percussion tests might be performed by using a gloved finger, a “Tooth Slooth,” or another plastic instrument. Of course, the test will be as gentle as possible. Feel free to contact us to be able to ask our endodontist about which specific tests you may need and what you can expect.
How is a root canal procedure performed?
A root canal procedure involves the removal of the soft center of the tooth (the pulp). It is needed when the pulp is injured or becomes inflamed or infected. Usually, ClassDent endodontists use an operating microscope and sophisticated tools to repair tissues inside your tooth. During the surgery, you’ll have to lie on your back in a comfortable chair. Local anesthesia is important for your comfort as it to numbs the inside of your mouth.
During the treatment, your endodontist:
How can we help?
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What is tooth pulp?
Did you know that if you were to crack open a tooth, you’d find that it isn’t solid all the way through? Your teeth have a jelly-like core called tooth pulp or dental pulp.
Let’s take a look at the teeth layers.
The visible outermost layer that protects your tooth.
The middle layer. It supports your enamel and protects the inner pulp.
The innermost layer and the part of your tooth that’s alive. With a jelly-like consistency, it contains: blood vessels, nerves, connective tissue as well as specialized cells. Some of the main functions of your tooth pulp are to create dentin and to provide your tooth with nutrition.
The pulp, or connective tissue inside teeth, plays an important role in helping children’s teeth develop as they grow. It is protected by the harder outer layers, however if your tooth is damaged or if you have tooth decay, the pulp can become exposed. When the pulp is exposed it is then susceptible to an infection and requires prompt treatment from a dental professional. Tooth decay (due to poor teeth and gum care) or a cracked tooth can lead to pulpitis (an inflamed or infected tooth pulp). Pulpitis is what causes a painful toothache (tooth pain) leading to a serious health problem that requires urgent medical attention.
When should you call an endodontist?
You might need to call an endodontist if you have: lingering tooth pain, pain in your mouth or jaw, teeth that are sensitive to heat, cold or sweet foods as well as inflammation (swelling) near affected teeth or gums. However, there are specific symptoms of a tooth pulp concern which can vary depending on the condition. So, most pulp conditions such as pulpitis are a result of tooth decay and may cause not only pain, but also all of the symptoms mentioned before.
There are some causes of tooth pain (such as a tooth abscess) that can pose a serious threat to your health if left untreated long enough. Developing a serious infection in your tooth pulp will make you experience signs such as: