Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving diagnosis and treatment of the pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Though the outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves.
Saratoga Dentist Dr. John Hao Rong examines, diagnoses, and treats diseases and destructive processes, including injuries and abnormalities of dental pulps and periapical tissues of the teeth.
A root canal is the commonly used term for the main canals within the tooth. These are part of the natural cavity within a tooth that consists of the dental pulp chamber, the main canals, and sometimes more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the root surface of the tooth. Root canals are filled with many blood vessels, loose connective tissue and the dental pulp. This area can sometimes become infected and inflamed, generally due to deep cavities or tooth fractures that allow microorganisms, mostly bacteria from the mouth or their byproducts, access to the pulp chamber or the root canals; the infected tissue is removed by a procedure called a ‘root canal’.
The root canals of each tooth house nerve tissue and dental pulp, which contain blood vessels that provide nourishment. When this tissue becomes infected, a tooth may be in danger of dying. Without a root canal, patients may experience severe swelling, bone loss, inflammation, toothache, darkening of the tooth, gum soreness, and drainage problems.
A root canal procedure is usually recommended after other dental treatment options have been considered. It is a treatment that is used to save a tooth from extraction, an absolute last-resort option at our practice. Root canals are common in cases where large cavities have done too much damage to fix with a tooth-colored filling or dental crown. They are also used in cases where a tooth infection is simply too invasive to control.