What is Endodontic Treatment?
The term “endodontics” originates from the Greek words of ‘endo‘ which means ‘inside’, and ‘odont’ which means ‘tooth’. Thus, endodontics refers to a branch of dentistry that treats the inside of a tooth. Anatomically, a tooth consists of an outer hard layer called ‘enamel’ and an inner hard layer called ‘dentine’. Inside the dentine is a soft tissue called the ‘pulp’, which contains blood vessels, neural bundles and cells that form and repair the tooth. This specialised tissue enters the tooth from the tip of the root and arrives at the centre of the tooth via a channel known as a ‘root canal’. During normal function, the pulp provides a defence mechanism against minor insults from the external surface of the tooth. In cases of deep decay, restorations, cracks or trauma, the pulp can undergo an inflammatory process and eventually degenerate. Once the pulp (and the protection it provides) is gone, the root canal space becomes a greenhouse for bacterial biofilm to grow, similar to how they thrive on the surface of the tooth. As this plaque-like biofilm progresses inside the root canal space, the body’s immune system triggers another defence mechanism to contain the bacteria within the tooth.
A variety of symptoms can be experienced at different stages of endodontic disease. Root canal treatment aims to eliminate the cause of the disease whilst providing support to the immune system. Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment may include providing a protective layer over the pulp, cleaning and filling the root canal space, or performing a small surgery to remove any pathology beyond the tip of the tooth. Most of these treatments are performed under local anaesthetic and a dental dam. At The Endodontic Centre, all treatments are conducted under an operating microscope.
During the consultation, your endodontist will assess your tooth and provide you with a specific treatment plan. Please do not hesitate to ask questions. We are here to help you.
The American Association of Endodontists is one fo the leading Endodontic organisation in the world. Please feel free to visit their website for more information.