Endodontic Treatment – the factsTooth section

What is Endodontic Treatment and why is it necessary?

“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside”, and “odont” is Greek for tooth. Endodontic treatment treats problems associated with the inside of the tooth. Teeth are covered by a very hard, white material called enamel. Inside this is a deeper material called dentin, also hard but less so than enamel. At the centre of the dentin is a hollow space than extends from the “crown” of the tooth down to the tips of the roots within your jaw. In this hollow space is living tissue called the “dental pulp” containing blood vessels and nerves. It is similar to most other tissue in your body except that it is very sensitive and is surrounded by the hard tissue of the tooth. Once your tooth is fully formed, this tissue gives you feedback on when you are biting too hard, and when things are hot or cold etc. Since this tissue is not critical to your tooth during your adult life, the tooth can actually survive almost unchanged without this tissue.

One characteristic of this tissue is that it is poor at healing itself if it becomes injured. Since the only way for your blood supply to get to the tissue in your tooth is through tiny openings in the end of the roots, inflammation and increased pressure in this tissue are harder to correct. The injuries that occur to this tissue from cavities, deep fillings, cracks, and trauma tend to add up over a lifetime, and can reach a point when the body can no longer eliminate the inflammation. The inflammation then causes pain and discomfort, and if left untreated, usually leads to death of this tissue. Once the tissue dies, an infection usually follows which can spread out the root ends and cause a jaw infection or “abscess”. Abscesses are usually related to pain and swelling, but can exist without any symptoms other than showing up on a dental X-ray film.

To solve this problem, the endodontist removes the inflamed or infected tissue and cleans the hollow space in the tooth to remove all remnants and bacteria present. Once this space is emptied, cleansed, and shaped, it can be filled with a biocompatible material to seal this space from any entry of bacteria in the future.

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Updated Jun 29, 2018 @ 2:38 pm