Endodontics is a specialty field of dentistry that focuses on the soft pulp that lurks underneath the hard outer shell of the teeth. This outer shell is made of enamel, a naturally occurring substance designed to keep the flesh and nerves inside the tooth from being exposed to hazards when chewing and engaging in other activities. Few people realize that many of the issues they experience with their oral health and wellness can be tied back to exposed pulp and poor hygiene.
When someone seeks endodontic treatment, they most likely are experiencing tooth pain or a similar problem. A skilled dentist will be able to identify and diagnose issues and then recommend teeth saving treatments like fillings, root canals, the installation of dental implants or crowns, and even the removal of all of the pulp. The most frequently seen problem by dentists is an internal infection of the tooth that can spread from the crown – the main visible part of the tooth – down through the roots and into the gums.
Root Canal Therapy
Advanced endodontics frequently involves root canal therapy, which is the primary treatment once the pulp has been diagnosed as being diseased or decayed. During this therapy, a patient is numbed around the tooth, and a hole is drilled through the crown so the dentist can access the pulp. Using specialized tools, the dentist will scrape and clear out any decayed matter. They will then clean and shape the root canal system and sanitize the entire interior to prevent future infection.
After sanitization, the goal of the dentist is to completely refill the interior of the tooth so it can be saved. This process requires the use of gutta-percha, a synthetic material. It is inserted in layers to reach every cavity in a tooth and is allowed to harden between layers. In the end, the dentist fills all the way to the crown and then shapes a new top for the tooth so it can be used properly.
Root canal therapy received a bad reputation in modern pop culture as a painful process, but patients don’t experience any discomfort during treatment. While they might feel some pressure, modern anesthetics ensure the tooth is saved without pain.
Medical professionals have recently theorized that modern orthodontics can sometimes create problems that need to be solved using advanced endodontic treatment. The problem is that mechanisms and appliances like braces can put a strain on the teeth, especially if the patient has a severe underbite or overbite. As the teeth are moved and the jaw is realigned to a correct bite pattern, the enamel and internal pulp can sometimes become damaged.
As dentists explore the potential relationship between orthodontics and other specialties, the likelihood of orthodontic appliance wearing individuals to need future treatment seems certain. As such, many dental offices have started to staff professionals of varying backgrounds to turn their locations into one-stop epicenters of treatment no matter what kind of issues an individual might face.
Once an individual has their teeth saved through the right treatment, one of the first questions people ask is whether or not they will be able to whiten their teeth. One of the benefits of treating the soft pulp inside of the tooth is that the enamel along the outside remains intact, save for the spot that might have some hardened and exposed gutta-percha. While the gutta-percha itself doesn’t whiten, the material is designed to match the natural color of the tooth, and patients do have a say in the final shade. If someone knows they are going to whiten their teeth, then they can make the material slightly lighter.
Saving Teeth the Right Way
It is a nightmare for many people that they will lose their teeth, either due to an accident or because of decay caused by poor oral hygiene. Many people don’t even realize how damaged their smiles might be until they start to experience severe symptoms like pain, swelling, and advanced gum disease. For this reason, it’s important to see a dentist like those at Dr. Smile Dental on a regular basis to catch problems early and maintain the absolute best oral health and wellness.