Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the tooth’s internal tissues, pathologies, and treatments. When these tissues, or the tissues surrounding the root of the tooth, are damaged by caries or trauma, endodontic treatment largely saves the tooth.
The dental pulp, known as the dental nerve among people, is a very special tissue consisting of arteries, veins, nerve endings and connective cells. In the developmental age, this tissue has the function of forming the calcified support structure (dentin) of the tooth. When the development is completed in adults, the thinned pulp is involved in sensitivity to cold, heat and caries, repair, and hydration of dentin.
Pathologies such as dental caries, the most common, can lead to various pathological conditions that impair pulp health. It can cause progressive decalcification and destruction of the tooth’s hard tissues under the influence of microorganisms in the tooth.
If this problem is not treated quickly, the cavity created by caries expands, deepens and extends to the pulp. At this stage, endodontic treatment (canal treatment), which is a conservative treatment that keeps the tooth away from extraction, comes into play.
Endodontics aims to protect teeth with painful and inflamed surrounding tissues caused by pulp infection and necrosis.
When Is Endodontic Treatment Needed?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp part of the tooth becomes inflamed. Several reasons can cause pulp inflammation. The main reason for this is an infection caused by bacteria present in the mouth. Since tooth enamel is resistant to bacteria, it cannot reach the tooth’s pulp under normal conditions. However, if there is any damage to the enamel, it can pass into the tooth’s pulp.
This is also the case with deep caries and tooth fractures. When bacteria reach the tooth’s pulp, they cause inflammation and pulp necrosis. When the pulp dies, these bacteria reach the bone and cause infection (abscess).
How is Endodontic Treatment Done?
Endodontic treatment or root canal treatment aims to completely remove the pulp in both the crown and roots of the tooth with the help of the latest generation special tools and replace the removed tissue with the appropriate filling material after adequate treatment.
In the past, it was not easy to predict the exact result of root canal treatment; it required a large number of radiographic tests and clinician precision. However, today’s technology has important service tools that greatly facilitate these processes. Now, this treatment is more predictable, simple, and safe.
In root canal treatment, the entire dental pulp is removed, the canals are cleaned with special solutions, and the canals are filled in three dimensions along their entire length. What needs to be done next is the restoration of the actual tooth. Depending on the tissue loss caused by the lesion, filling, inlay or prosthetic crown are preferred for restoring the root canal treated tooth, and the function is also restored.
Therefore, endodontic treatment helps achieve a natural smile, preserve chewing function, and eliminate the need to resort to more invasive or expensive treatments. Correctly applied treatment can ensure that the treated tooth remains like other natural teeth, even for life.
Is Root Canal Treatment Painful?
During root canal treatment, pain is controlled by local anaesthesia. After therapy, there may be pain that can be subjectively slightly bothersome. However, this can be easily controlled with a common analgesic.
Rarely, especially on infected tooth roots, a painful and swollen abscess may develop due to the migration of bacteria to the bone surrounding the roots. The onset of these complications does not necessarily affect the success of continued therapy.
How Successful Is Root Canal Treatment?
The success rate of root canal treatment is more than 95%. The tooth may continue to ache in some cases (such as abnormal root anatomy, root fractures, dentin cracks). In such cases, it may be necessary to renew the root canal treatment or resort to endodontic surgery.
Post Treatment Care
In most cases, patients do not experience pain after root canal treatment. If there is a minor pain in the treated tooth, painkillers recommended by the dentist may help. The pain usually goes away within a few days.
The patient should avoid eating and drinking while the local anaesthetic effect continues. Otherwise, there may be a risk of injury to the mouth from incorrect bites, too hot or cold food and drink.
Several months after treatment, a final X-ray may be required to ensure the treatment has been successful for control purposes.