Endodontics is a dental specialty, which treats the dental pulp, i.e. the nerve and the ligaments inside the tooth. The healthy tooth is not a compact structure; it is made of several layers. The exterior layer of the tooth is a hard substance, the enamel; it covers the dentin layer which in its turn protects a soft tissue which is in fact the so-called dental pulp. When the dentist finds that a tooth is decayed or broken due an accident, he/she will eliminate the infectious tissue (the “nerve”), applying a canal treatment.
How can I find out if I need a treatment?
The pain is the first sign. You will need a treatment the moment you feel a sudden pain which does not cease easily or which causes discomfort when masticating and/or when you touch the tooth area.
Nevertheless, there are also teeth that cause no pain. This means that the nerve is so severely damaged that it cannot react.
Why do I need to have a canal treatment done?
You will need a canal treatment because the infected or sore pulp causes intense pain and sensitivity when it comes in contact with everything that is either cold or warm. Secondly, you will need a treatment because the situation may become worse if you ignore the problem. It is good to know that the tooth continues to live after the pulp is taken out, because it manages to feed from the tissue that surrounds it.
After the pulp is taken out, the canal will be filled and the dentist will place a filling or even a dental crown, if applicable.
This procedure which was once deemed as extremely painful causes now minimum discomfort to the patient. Not only that no pain will be felt during the intervention, but after the treatment is completed, you will feel absolutely no pain or discomfort.
After this procedure, the tooth must be protected until the dental work is finally completed. However, the usual oral hygiene will be maintained.
The endodontic treatment involves several stages. The first stage consisting of the diagnosis requires a dental X-ray. The next stage implies the mechanical treatment of the radicular canals, which are properly cleaned by removing the infected parts and the dentine that has been affected. Finally the canals are filled.
How painful is the treatment?
The endodontic treatment is designed to eliminate the pain caused by the sore or infected pulp, so the patient must confidently come to see the dentist. The treatment itself is administered under anaesthetic, so the patient will feel no discomfort during the session (sessions) of treatment. Nevertheless, the patient may feel moderate pain several days after the treatment has been completed, particularly if an infection was involved. This sensitivity can be eliminated using a light analgesic, such as Nurofen, Algocalmin, Ibuprofen, prescribed by the dentist.