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What is Endodontic Treatment?

Endodontic treatment is the technical name for the dental procedure commonly referred to as "Root Canal Treatment".  The word Endodontics originates from the Greek words "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Thus Endodontic treatment refers to treatment of the inside of the tooth.

Root canal treatment is performed when the tooth's pulp (sometimes referred to as the nerve) has become diseased or infected.  Root canal treatment involves cleaning, shaping and filling the inside of the tooth to make it disease free and functional again.

Why would I need Endodontic treatment?

You may need Root Canal Treatment if the tissue inside you tooth, the pulp, becomes inflamed or intected.  The inflammation and infection may be caused by deep decay, a crack in the rooth, leakage around a filling or as a result of trauma or a knock to the tooth.

If an unfected tooth is left untreated it can cause pain and develop an abscess and bone loss around it.  The signs of an inflamed or infected tooth can be lingering pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, swelling and tenderness, pain to biting or discolouration of the tooth.  In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.  Endodontic treatment gives us the oppurtunity to retain teeth that would otherwise have to be removed because of this disease ir infection.

What is an Endodontist?

An Endodontist is a Specialist Dentist who has completed an additional 3 years of further study and training in the area of infectious disease inside the tooth and it's surrounding structure.  Essentially, an Endodontist is a Root Canal Specialist, however, Endodontists are also trained to diagnose facial pain and to manage dental trauma.  All dentists are trained to perform Endodontic treatment, however, not all Root Canal treatments are the same.  A dentist will refer to an Endodontist when a case or a tooth is too complex to manage in a General Dental practice setting. At SDS endo, procedures are performed with all the latest techniques and equipment and all procedures are performed under magnification using the operating microscope.

What does Root Canal treatment involve?

Endodontic therapy is frequently completed within one to three appointment, but this depends on each person's individual situation.

At the first appointment, there will be a consultation where the Endodontist will take an x-ray picture of the tooth in it's current state, do some tests in the area, and then examine the tooth and explain the options which best suit the present condition.  The Endodontist will also discuss the costs for treatment and alternatives to endodontic treatment.

Before root canal treatment is commenced, the Endodontist will administer Local Anaesthetic and place a sheet of latex, called a Rubber Dam, over the tooth to keep it isolated from the rest of the mouth and to keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.  At the commencement of treatment the Endodontist will make a small access into the tooth. The space inside the tooth is cleaned and shaped using small files, disinfecting solutions and medicaments.  This process may take one or two visits.

Once the space has been sufficiently cleaned, the Endodontist will seal the space with a rubber filling material called "Gutta Percha" and a resin cement.  In some cases this can be done at the same time as the cleaning appointment and in other cases it will be done at a separate appointment.  During the procedure a number of x-ray pictures will need to be taken to ensure that the tooth is being treated to the correct length and depth.

At the completion of Endodontic treatment a strong temporary restoration will be placed into the access cavity at the opening of the tooth.  A final x-ray picture is taken at the completion of treatment.  Once the root canal treatment is completed by the Endodontist, it is important to return to your referring dentist for the final permanent restoration of the tooth.  The final restoration is designed to protect and restore the tooth back to normal function.  In many cases, the final restoration may be a cap or crown over the tooth.

What is Endodontic Microsurgery?

Endodontic microsurgery is a procedure that is carried out if there is persistent inflammation or infection of the bony tissue around the end of a tooth.  Surgical endodontic treatment is generally performed after Root Canal Treatment or Non-surgical Endodontic Re-Treatment.  In some cases, Endodontic microsurgery will be performed as an alternative to non-surgical re-treatment if the canal space is inaccessible because of blockages or extensive restorations.  The Endodontist will remove the infected tissue and in some cases will remove some of the very end of the root tip and palce a small filling at the end of the tooth to seal the root canal. Like other endodontic procedures performed at SDS Endo, microsurgery is performed with modern, high tech equipment under high magnification with the aid of the operating microscope to ensure the best possible outcome.