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WHAT is endodontics?
Endodontics is a special area of dentistry that involves the root canals, deep within the tooth. All teeth have between one and four root canals in them. These canals contain both the nerves and the blood supply for the tooth, commonly known as the pulp. When a tooth problem involves bacteria that spreads to the pulp, the tissues of the pulp often die and create an infection that spreads to the surrounding jaw bone. This infection can cause a dental abscess to develop which can be associated with sensitivity, pain and swelling. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the pulp, leading to similar problems.
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Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success. It involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection, and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save a problem tooth. Before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction. Though root canal therapy has a bad reputation, when performed early, before a patient is experiencing significant dental pain, it is often no more difficult to recover from than a dental filling. Occasionally, a patient may need to take antibiotics prior to root canal therapy to reduce the infection and thereby reduce the likelihood of pain after the procedure. Once a root canal is completed, a tooth will often require restoration with a crown to restore strength and protect the tooth from fracture.