What are endodontic services?
Endodontics is the specialty of dentistry concerned with the dental pulp and tissue surrounding the roots of the tooth. It concentrates on diagnosing and treating the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth.
Root canal therapy is the most common treatment performed by an endodontist, as well as other surgery and procedures designed to save teeth after traumatic dental injuries or disease. Root canal therapy involves opening the tooth, removing the damaged pulp, cleaning the inside of the tooth, filling it with medicated dental materials, and then sealing the tooth.
When should I see a specialist for endodontic treatment?
Endodontic treatment is required to save teeth badly damaged by dental trauma, accident, or disease. Without the intervention of an endodontist, the affected tooth will need to be extracted and replaced by a bridge or an implant.
If your tooth has been damaged by a crack or a deep cavity, the inside of the tooth may become infected. This infection is difficult to treat and affects the pulp of the tooth (nerves and blood vessels). If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is advisable to contact an endodontist:
- Sensitivity to hot and cold.
- Acute tooth pain.
- Swelling or tenderness around the tooth.
- An abscess (or lump) on the gum.
Did you know?
The word endodontics is composed of two Greek words: endo, meaning inside, and odon, meaning tooth. The first evidence of endodontic treatment comes from a skull dating back to 200 BC, which had a bronze wire in one of its teeth.
What are the risks of endodontic treatment?
While the success rate of root canal therapy is generally very high, some potential risks do exist. New infections can result from an undetected crack or inadequate sealing or restoration of the tooth which has allowed bacteria to recontaminate the inside of the tooth.
If this occurs, re-treatment may successfully eliminate the infection. If not, endodontic surgery may be required. Other less common risks include a reaction to the local anaesthetic, or numbness of the tongue or lower jaw for an extended period of time.
How should I prepare for my appointment?
If you have any concerns regarding your treatment, it is important to discuss them with your specialist before your endodontic treatment. It is normal to feel a little anxious but your specialist will be available for you to ask questions and make your concerns known.
It is best to avoid painkillers, additional medication, or alcohol before your treatment. For any additional advice or instructions, be sure to ask your endodontist prior to the procedure.
What can I expect during endodontic treatment?
In most cases, a root canal treatment requires two appointments. On the first visit, the tooth is numbed and a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry and sterile. The infected pulp and decayed nerve tissue is removed from inside the tooth and then it is cleaned using root canal files. The tooth is then sealed with a temporary filling.
The second visit is to fill the inside of the tooth with a rubber compound called gutta percha. The tooth is then sealed with a filling. Further restoration of the tooth may be required later. Your endodontist will advise you on this, if it is necessary.1
What happens after my endodontic treatment?
After your endodontic treatment, your tooth is likely to be sensitive for the first couple of days after the procedure, which will pass as the tooth heals. You may need some over-the-counter pain relief. Your endodontist will provide you with clear advice and instructions.Request an appointment with a dental specialist today.
 Chng Hui, Kheng & Nah Chen, Nah & Tiong Koh, Eng & Choon En Lam, Ernest & Chong Lim, Kian & Sum, Chee. (2005). Guidelines for root canal treatment. Singapore dental journal. 26. 60-2.