Inside each tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called dentin, is soft pulp. It contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Endodontics is the area of dentistry that deals with this tooth interior, to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases or injury to it.
The pulp is contained in a canal, which is a thin, tube-like space extending from the crown of the tooth to the tip of its root within the jawbone. Here the pulp connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important while teeth are growing and developing, but when growth ceases it’s no longer necessary to the tooth’s survival. The tooth receives nourishment from the blood supply surrounding it.
Symptoms of infection
Typically, tooth pain is a sign of infection. The pain might be intermittent at first and over time progress to a constant dull throbbing, or a severe ache that might be felt in all the teeth on that side.
However, sometimes there is no pain and an abscess might be discovered on a routine x-ray.
The goal of endodontic treatment is to change the internally infected or damaged tooth to an inert, viable state, so that it may continue to function in the chewing process.
Today with an endodontic procedure called root canal therapy, the diseased pulp is removed and the canal cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Warr will then place a prosthetic crown over the tooth to give it a new surface and make it stronger.
The tooth has now lost its nerve, which had been inside the root canal. It can no longer feel anything. But this doesn’t matter. Its job is to bite and chew, for which it needs no nerve. It will never ache again, though you’ll feel things like pressure and hardness through the nerves that remain in the area.
It has also lost its blood supply, but that also doesn’t matter. There is still a blood supply to nourish the gums and other soft tissue.
Alternatives to endodontic therapy
Most of the time, endodontic therapy is a relatively simple procedure done in one to three visits. It can save your diseased or injured tooth with little or no discomfort. The only alternative to endodontic therapy is extraction of the infected, diseased or injured tooth. If the infected tooth must be removed, dental implants are then an option, but saving the existing tooth is always the first priority.
Choosing the right dentist who cares about doing the right thing for you may be a daunting task. The Warr dental experience describes the legacy of this 50 year old practice, and the goodwill it has created because of its belief in treating the whole patient. Dr. Warr will always do his best to answer any questions and concerns you may have, and will always strive to develop the treatment plan that is best for you.