ANATOMY OF A PAINFUL TOOTH
Teeth have several layers.
- The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called Enamel.
- The Dentine layer which is protected by the Enamel layer has at its center a soft tissue known as the Pulp.
- The Pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentine and Enamel during tooth development. The Pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root.
Although the Pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.
WHY WOULD I NEED ENDODONTIC TREATMENT
Endodontic Treatment or Root Canal Treatment is necessary when the Pulp becomes inflamed or infected.
The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth.
If Pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A PAINFUL TOOTH
Indications for treatment include
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling of the gum adjacent to the tooth
- Tenderness of the tooth especially to biting or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms and the first sign of a problem maybe radiographic evidence coroborated with additional diagnostic testing by the Endodontist
HOW CAN ENDODONTICS HELP ME?
The Endodontist removes the inflammed or infected pulp in the painful tooth, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is now performed in a single appointment ranging from 45-120 minutes (depending on the number of canals). Once treatment is completed, you will be instructed to return to your dentist for a permanent restoration. The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned and filled canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function.
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