Search in:
Use the search below to find a dentist anywhere in the world!
Filter by category:
Filter by country:
Filter by type of treatment:
  • We Recommend We Recommend
    dental clinics, dental offices, dental hygienist
    We Recommend
    GO to Dental Clinic
  • Dental Services Dental Services
    find dental services and more
    Dental Services
    GO to Dental Service
  • Medical News Medical News
    read about dentistry, dental implants, cosmetic dentistry
    Medical News Dental Cosmetic services
    This can be anything done to correct imperfections in the appearance of the mouth. Anyone who is unhappy with their smile can have it fixed. The upper teeth show, usually, only...
    GO to Medical News
  • Medical Dictionary Medical Dictionary
    quick access to medical terms
    Medical Dictionary X-linked
    A gene on the X chromosome that is located on the X chromosome. An X-linked disorder is associated with or caused by a gene on the X chromosome.
    GO to Dictionary
  • Dental Products Dental Products
    medical equipment, dental supplies, dental equipment
    Dental Products
    GO to Dental Product
  • Case Studies Case Studies
    case study examples, medical case studies, dental case study
    Case Studies What is pulpotomy in children?
    Pulpotomy is a type of dentistry treatment. Pulpotomy is performed when tooth decay progresses to involve the pulp or nerve of baby tooth. Pulpotomy helps retain the baby tooth until the...
    GO to Case Studies
  • Dental Forum Dental Forum
    dentist forums, dental fear forum, dental phobia forum and more
    Dental Forum Lingual Frenectomy
    Topics of discussion about Lingual Frenectomy
    GO to Dental Forum
Join our newsletter!
 newsletter Join our newsletter! Subscribe arr
» Hemolysis - Hemolysis is a medical term used to describe the[...]
» Mastectomy - A Mastectomy is a general term for removal of the[...]

» Looking for a Mexico Dentist? - lganas
   Think about it, if you go to your[...]

» Orthodontic products - System
   Topics of discussion about Orthodontic products

What is a Root Canal What is Endodontics

Reset Decrease Increase
What is a Root Canal  What is Endodontics
What is a Root Canal What is Endodontics

The word endodontic comes from the Greek word eno meaning within and the Greek word odous meaning tooth. Endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal (therapy), is a treatment of the tooth aimed at clearing infection, as well as protecting the tooth from subsequent infections. The treatment is carried out in the pulp of the tooth.

The term root canal when meaning endodontic therapy is, in fact, wrong. Root canals are part of a tooth, the hollows within a tooth where the nerve tissue, blood vessels, and some other cells are located. Root canal is a place in a tooth, while endodontic therapy is a dental procedure. However, the term root canal has become widely used with the meaning of endodontic therapy.

Endodontic therapy involves the complete removal of everything that lies in the root canal. The hollow area is then cleaned, shaped and decontaminated. Miniscule files and irrigation solutions are used. An inert filling, such as gutta percha, fills up the hollow, along with a eugenol-based cement.

After endodontic therapy the tooth is dead. The patient will no longer feel any pain on that tooth because the nerve tissue has been taken out and the infection has been eliminated.

Patients are frequently fearful of undergoing endodontic therapy. This fear is unwarranted as the procedure, when carried out by a trained dental surgeon, is relatively painless.

The tooth has two basic parts

There are two basic parts to a tooth, the crown and the roots. The crown is mainly above your gum, while the roots are below the gum and attach your tooth to your jawbone. Pulp, which exists inside the crown and the root, is made of soft tissue and keeps your tooth nourished.

Enamel - the outer layer of the crown is called the enamel. Enamel is the hardest and most highly mineralized substance in our body - 96% of a tooths enamel consists of mineral, the rest is made of organic matter and water.

Dentin - is yellow in appearance. The color of our teeth is influenced by the color of our dentin, as the enamel is translucent. Dentin is necessary for the support of the enamel - it is less brittle and less mineralized than the enamel. 70% of dentin is hydroxylapatite (a mineral), 20% is organic matter, and 10% is water.

Dental pulp - is in the center of the tooth. Part of the tooth is inside the crown, and part of it is inside the root, in the root canal. The pulp consists of soft tissue and ondoplasts (type of cells). The dental pulp produces dentin, supplies surrounding mineralized tissue with moisture and nutrients, and senses extremes of temperature and pressure as pain. The pulp has a network of nerves and blood vessels.

When the dental pulp (or root canal area) is diseased or injured

If the pulp cannot repair itself (when it is injured or diseased) it dies. Pulp death can occur as a result of a deep cavity or a cracked tooth. Bacteria get in, either through a crack, a cavity or a loose filling, and eventually destroy the pulp. When bacteria penetrate through the root openings the bone will become infected. An infection in the bone will eventually weaken it and break it down, the ligaments around the tooth will swell and the tooth will become loose.

The patient with a pulp (root canal) injury will find his tooth is very sensitive to high and low temperatures, he may feel pain when chewing, and there may be a continuous throbbing pain.

Endodontic therapy (root canal therapy) saves the tooth and prevents further infection and pain

Without treatment the infection will spread and the tooth will eventually loosen and fall out. Some patients may prefer to have the tooth pulled out, especially if it hurts a lot. However, extracting a tooth may cause the surrounding teeth to become crooked. If your teeth are crooked you cannot usually manage a good bite. Endodontic therapy will usually stop the tooth from falling out and eliminate the pain.

Dentists say endodontic therapy requires three sessions. A dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp (root canal) is called an endodontist. Endodontic therapy might be carried out by an endodontist or a dental surgeon. He/she will take out the diseased pulp. The whole area around the root canal (the area where the pulp was) will be cleaned and sealed. The procedure is relatively painless as the patient is given a local anesthetic.

When the dentist decides that the procedure has been a success, he/she may either add a filling or place a crown. This is to protect the tooth. A tooth that has the root canal filled is more fragile than a normal tooth.

Can endodontic therapy go wrong?

Some teeth may have four root canals, while the dentist only found three. If the dentist did not find that fourth canal the infection might continue and spread into the bone. The better the dentist, and the better his/her equipment, the less likely it is that this might happen. It is important that the dentist makes sure the filling goes deep enough into the canal, to fill it up. During the procedure it is possible the root of the tooth cracks, making it hard to fill the tooth effectively. In virtually all these cases, a specialist can re-treat what happened.

Today there are three options: 1. Extraction. 2. Endodontic therapy. 3. Tooth implant.

In the past, the dentist and the patient had just two options to consider, extraction or endodontic therapy. Another option today is to extract the tooth and place an implant. An implant is more expensive.

News on Dentistry

The Medical News Today website includes a specialist category on dentistry, allowing you to keep up-to-date with the latest research via website, RSS, weekly newsletter and daily news alerts.

Source - General Dental Council (UK), Wikipedia, American Dental Association

Written by Christian Nordqvist

Copyright: Medical News Today

Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today


This article has been read by 7367 visitors.
Comments - Add your comment!
* - Required fields
Choose avatar: *    
Name *
Email * Will not be displayed
Comment *
2000 characters remaining
Security check
Enter the code below in the field next to it:
*This code help us prevent automated requests.

We welcome both positive and negative comments.
Do not include:
- Email addresses, phone numbers or other personal information that belong to you or to other people;
- Personal Ads;
- References to other comments or users who have posted comments;
- Obscene or offensive words.
Choose avatar:

Comments (61):