Endodontics - ROOT CANALS
Endodontics is a form of dentistry concerned primarily with the roots and soft matter below the tooth. Most often, those who practice endodontics spend most of their time doing complicated root canals. Root canals are required when the pulpy portion of the tooth in the roots become diseased. The surface of the tooth may still be healthy, but the roots are no longer so. The dentist specializing in endodontics extracts diseased pulp from below the tooth by drilling through the tooth.
A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot and cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause: