Endodontics - questions and answers
Endodontics is a special branch of dentistry dealing with treatment of tooth pulp and other soft tissues inside the tooth.
Endodontist is a dentist specialized in treating the root canal and soft tissues inside it. Most dentists have basic knowledge about endodontics, but complex situations should be dealt by a dentist specialized in endodontics.
When we talk about treating the root canal we primarily think about treatment of inflammatory processes and removing the pulp. Beside root canal treatment it also involves complete restoration of the tooth.
Dental pulp is a combination of soft tissues inside the root canal. Tooth pulp consists of the tooth nerve, blood vessels and soft connective tissues inside the canal.
If bacteria penetrate the root canal it leads to inflammation of the dental pulp. If the inflammation is not treated, it leads to withering of the pulp.
If the withering pulp is not removed, it leads to infection, which could endanger the surrounding bones and lead to tooth loss.
The tooth is opened and the pulp is removed through the opening in the tooth. The tooth is then cleaned and a medication is put in it, and after it the tooth is closed with a temporary filling. After a certain amount of time, the patient comes back to the dentist's office and the tooth is opened again to remove the medication. If the infection is healed the tooth is cleaned again and filled with the permanent filling.
Root canal treatment is done through few visits to the dentist's office, and it usually takes at least three visits depending on the patient.
A tooth can last a lifetime without its pulp, because it's not essential for the tooth's life span. The life span will completely depend on oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.
Loss of the dental pulp does not mean that the functionality of the tooth is compromised in any way. The patient will be able to use the tooth equally as before the pulp removal.
No dental restoration can be as good as the natural tooth. Therefore, each natural tooth must be saved, if possible.