Endodontics is a procedure that is used when the dental pulp has been affected due to a deep caries, trauma or some other type of injury. By performing an endodontic procedure, we are able to clean the affected tissues of the tooth and seal the cavity to prevent a potential infection. In many cases, it is the last chance to save the tooth before an extraction is necessary.
The tooth, like the rest of our body, is not a simple structure, and it is made up of multiple tissues. The part that remains visible is called the enamel, and it is the first shield against decay. Among the internal tissues are the dentin and dental pulp, located in the deepest part of the tooth, where the nerves of the tooth are found.
The pulp is what allows us to feel external stimuli such as cold or heat. Therefore, when we have tooth sensitivity, it is likely that we have cavities or suffer from a periodontal disease such as gingivitis or periodontitis.
Depending on how advanced the cavity is, it will need to be treated with a dental filling or a root canal.
HOW DO CAVITIES AFFECT TEETH?
Tooth decay is a destructive process. Our mouth is constantly exposed to harmful agents and, little by little, bacteria accumulate throughout the oral cavity. By maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, we are able to eliminate them. Otherwise, the acid released by these bacteria will gradually dissolve the tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay.
Once the enamel barrier is crossed, it is easy for bacteria to break through the dentin, which is much less resistant, allowing it to spread further. By the time the decay has reached the dental pulp, the patient may feel severe pain. It is important to stop the process as soon as possible and prevent it from advancing so that it does not reach the pulp.
Tooth decay is the most common disease in the world. In our clinic we recommend avoiding sugary diets, the number one cause of tooth decay. In addition, we encourage parents to check the condition of their children’s mouths regularly to detect tooth decay as soon as possible.
In extreme cases in which the patient does not visit the dentist and the caries continue to progress, root canal treatment or tooth extraction may be necessary.
WHAT DOES AN ENDODONTIC PROCEDURE CONSIST OF?
The endodontist is responsible for conducting an examination of the patient’s mouth, performing the necessary tests and determining whether the intervention to remove the infected pulp is necessary. If so, the following procedure is carried out with the support of specialized instruments:
- First, we apply local anesthesia. This allows the patient to not feel pain.
- Once the area has been numbed, we make a small hole through the enamel to gain access to the pulp chamber and root canal.
- We proceed to extract the pulp and mould the cavity to be able to disinfect the tissues and clean the ducts.
- We then fill the gap, making sure it is well sealed to prevent future infections.
- At the final stage, we rebuild the tooth to restore the natural appearance.
THINGS TO CONSIDER AFTER AN ENDODONTIC PROCEDURE
It is important for the patient to inform us about any problems that may arise after the treatment: such as unusual sensitivity, discomfort or inflammation. It is normal to feel some discomfort in the affected area up to a few days later, but we will provide painkillers that will help alleviate it.
If the problems persist after a while, the patient must book another appointment with the specialist. In some cases, there may be a trace of the infection that could not be completely eliminated due to the difficulty of access to the ducts, or perhaps the area was not completely sterilized. The endodontist will then propose to perform an additional procedure to solve the problem and ensure that the patient can return to their normal routine.