Why would I need an endodontic procedure?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue
inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation
or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental
procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition,
an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no
visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left
untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or
cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and
swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully
cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside the root,
then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your
dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to
protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth
continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of
toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern
techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are
comfortable during the procedure.
For the first few days after treatment,
your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or
infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with
over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other
teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed.
However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more
than a few days, call your endodontist.
©2010 American Association of Endodontists