What Is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a field within dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of the inside of the tooth, specifically the root of the tooth including the dental pulp, which is the soft tissue that lies at the very core of the tooth and is made up of living connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. When this pulp extending from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
Traumatic dental injuries often occur in sports-related incidents or accidents. Chipped teeth account for the majority of all dental injuries. Dislodged teeth that have been knocked out of the socket are less common, but more severe. After sustaining any dental injury, even if it may seem minor, you should be examined by a dentist or an endodontist as soon as possible. In some cases after a tooth has sustained an injury, neighboring teeth can potentially suffer as well and can only be detected by a thorough dental exam. There are several different types of dental injuries, all of which can be treated with endodontics.
How Is an Injured Tooth Treated With Endodontics?
The outer layer or the white tip of a tooth is called a crown. Most chipped or fractured crowns can be repaired by reattaching the broken piece or by placing a new filling. If a large portion of the crown has been broken, an artificial crown or cap may be needed to make the tooth whole again. The following are a few common examples of the different types of dental injuries and how they are treated:
Teeth That Have Been Knocked Out
If you have sustained an injury to a tooth, completely knocking it out of your mouth, immediate treatment is essential. Chances of saving a tooth depend on how long the tooth has been out of the mouth and how it is stored before reaching the dentist. With proper emergency endodontics, a tooth that has been knocked out of its socket can be successfully replanted and function normally.
It is ideal to see an endodontist within 30 minutes of a tooth being knocked out. An endodontist will carefully evaluate the tooth, place it back in its socket, and examine you for any other dental and facial injuries. A stabilizing splint is then placed for a few weeks around the injured tooth. Depending on the stage of root development, an endodontist may start root canal treatment a week or two later.
During an accident, a tooth can become partially loosened or dislodged from its socket. In this case, an endodontist will try and position the tooth back into place and stabilize it. A displaced tooth may be saved without root canal treatment as long as the nerve and blood vessels remain intact. An endodontist may use a plastic splint or orthodontic wire brackets to keep the tooth stable until it has a chance to heal. However, if the nerves or blood vessels are damaged, root canal treatment is usually needed and is performed a few days after the injury. A root canal treatment prevents a tooth from becoming infected.
A traumatic injury to a tooth may also fracture the root of a tooth. If the fracture is close to the tip of the root, as opposed to being closer to the gum line, the tooth has a better chance of being saved. Just as with a tooth that has been knocked out, a fractured root may require a stabilizing splint for a short period.
Call us at (516) 482-4777 for more information about endodontics from Amir Sedaghat, DDS PC or to schedule an appointment in our dentist office in Great Neck.
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