Endodontic dentistry, or endodontics, is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the treatment of the inside of the tooth, including tooth enamel and nerve pulp. If tooth decay is not treated in time, it will spread deeper into the teeth causing the the tooth pulp tissue to die. This can lead to loss of the tooth. An injury or disease that affects the insides of a tooth is treated with the help of endodontic dentistry.
There are many procedures performed in endodontic dentistry; many of these procedures are performed to relieve pain in the teeth caused by inflammation and infection of the pulp. Given below are the four most commonly performed endodontic procedures.
- Root canal therapy – Root canal therapy is carried out when inflammation and/or infection below the tooth causes unbearable pain, sometimes an abscess, and threatens the existence of the tooth. The dentist creates a small opening in the crown of the tooth to reach the infected pulp; he scrapes away the pulp leaving behind the root canal which is cleaned and sealed. The final step is to place a crown on the tooth.
- Internal tooth bleaching – Internal tooth bleaching is carried out for those who wish to whiten their teeth after endodontic treatment. Teeth become devitalized and stained from the inside from blood and other fluids. A peroxide gel is placed in the cleaned root area and it whitens the teeth from inside.
- Endodontic retreatment – An endodontic retreatment is performed if after root canal therapy, the tooth has not healed as expected or if the pain continues. Endodontic retreatment can be necessary for various reasons, such as saliva contamination, complicated canals missed during the first treatment, crown placement was delayed, etc.
- Apicoectomy – Apicoectomy or root end surgery is carried out when a root canal treatment and subsequent endodontic retreatment fails to completely treat pulp infection and inflammation. The root tip along with the infected tissue is removed in an apicoectomy. An apicoectomy is carried out using an operating microscope and is also known as endodontic microsurgery.