Did you know that 85% of Americans believe that oral health is very or extremely important, in regards to their overall health? If this sounds like you, then you might be on the search for more dental knowledge.
There are quite a few dental terms out there, such as orthodontics, prosthodontics, and endodontics. You might've heard about the first two, but perhaps not the last.
So what is endodontics? And what are the different types of endodontic treatment? Keep reading to find out more.
What Is Endodontics?
To discuss what endodontics is, let's break down the parts of the word.
First, "endo" means "inside". And "odont" means "tooth". From these two meanings, we can infer that endodontics has to do with care inside of your tooth.
In fact, endodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on dental pulp (or tooth pulp). You might not realize this, but your tooth isn't all just bone; the dental pulp is the innermost part that's composed of blood vessels and nerves, as well as specialized cells and connective tissue.
This is why it hurts when it gets cavities or trauma, or when it's pulled out. It's the only part of your tooth that contains these things, which makes it quite special and important. Should your dental pulp become damaged (such as through a cavity), then your tooth's at risk of losing both its blood and nerve supply.
So as you can see, it's important that you keep up with endodontics. Or else, you'll be putting your oral health at risk. A dentist who specializes in this area of dental care will be able to help with tooth pain and infection.
Who Practices Endodontics?
When it comes to dental healthcare, you know you can see a dentist. And if you have any teeth or jaw irregularities, then you see an orthodontist.
But is there such thing as an endodontist? There is!
All endodontists are dentists. However, not all dentists are endodontists, as this is a dental specialty. So the dentist you're seeing may not necessarily be an endodontist; you'll have to check their credentials to make sure.
What Are the Different Types of Endodontic Treatment?
Now that you've learned a little more about what endodontics is, you might be wondering what types of treatment are available. Below are the most common ones you'll find.
Root Canal Treatment
A root canal treatment is also known as endodontic therapy. So if you were previously wondering, "what is endodontic therapy," you'll be less confused now that you know it's synonymous with "root canal treatment".
If a tooth becomes severely infected, the nerves can become seriously damaged. Not only that, but left unchecked, the infection can turn into an abscess. This can lead to bone loss in your jaw.
To prevent this from happening, a root canal treatment is performed. This is where the infected nerves are removed.
You'll typically only need local anesthesia for when the dentist drills into your tooth. You might also need to have a crown placed on top after they're done.
Apicoectomy is also known as endodontic surgery. This type of surgery is done if your root canal treatment isn't successful, especially after a second treatment.
Even under the most skillful endodontist's hands, not all infected tissue might be removed. So anything left behind can go on to cause further issues. An apicoectomy rectifies this with a filling in place of the tip of your tooth's root.
While this is considered a surgery, you'll still only receive a local anesthetic for an apicoectomy. The gum's cut open, the root is removed, a filling is placed, and the gums are sutured back up.
The endo microscope isn't actually a treatment, but it's an important piece of equipment used in endodontics. It's a much more powerful microscope than a regular one, which allows dentists to work with better precision.
Not only does the endo microscope have higher magnification, but also stronger illumination. It also has an ultrasonic unit and tips.
This advanced piece of technology means there's a much better success rate with root canal treatments.
Unfortunately, not all endodontic treatments are successful on a long-term basis. Your tooth might fail to heal or you might get new decay thanks to a crown or filling that's compromised. If this happens to you, then you'll have to go through endodontic retreatment.
This will usually take 2 appointments to complete. The first will be for your dentist to examine your tooth and take x-rays. They'll then discuss the possible routes to take and schedule the second appointment if you decide to go ahead with retreatment.
The actual retreatment process involves local anesthetic before the dentist opens up your tooth. They'll remove the filling material, do a thorough cleaning of the canals, and use an endo microscope to double-check everything inside.
Once they're satisfied, your dentist will then fill and seal your tooth's canals. You'll receive a temporary filling in your tooth.
Lastly, you'll have to make another appointment to have a new crown or other restoration done.
Take Care of Your Teeth With Endodontic Treatment
Now you know the answer to the question, "what is endodontics?"
The next time you have any tooth pain, make sure you see your dentist ASAP. They'll be able to examine your teeth carefully and recommend the proper endodontic treatment to ensure you're not in pain and that your oral health is the best it can be!
Take good care of your teeth, starting now. Request an appointment with us today!