Endodontics is a special branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of problems that occur inside the tooth. It deals with the problems of the dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. The pulp is located at the center of the tooth and contains a collection of blood vessels and nerves.
Endodontic treatment is also called root canal treatment or therapy. Root Canal Therapy (RCT) is a procedure in which the infected pulp or tissue is removed and the root canal is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.
Endodontic treatment is required when an infection travels inside the tooth and reaches the dental pulp and root. Infections occur due to trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, and chips, or repeated dental procedures. The pulp infection leads to the injury of nerves that are located in the hollow canal of the root. If this pulp infection is left untreated, it can lead to the formation of an abscess that can result in the loss of bone in the jaw.
Symptoms of a pulp infection include:
Root canal therapy is performed under local anesthesia and the patient remains comfortable throughout the procedure. The damaged tooth structure is removed and access is created to the root canal. Next, the infected pulp is removed and the canal is shaped to accept a filling material. The shaped canal is sterilized and sealed with a natural material called gutta-percha to prevent further infection. A dental crown may or may not be placed on the tooth for protection and appearance.
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