Posted on 16th February 2018
Patient’s Guide to the Basics of Endodontics
Like all of the health professions, dentistry has a whole lexicon of words that might seem daunting to the uninitiated. For instance, we offer a range of treatments that fall under the label: ‘endodontics’. For people with no knowledge of specialist dentistry or Greek – so 99% of us – the word in itself can sound scary, let alone the procedure! Fear not, however. Endodontics isn’t scary. Our endodontic treatments are pain free procedures designed to clear your root canal of bacterial infection and save an infected tooth.
Etymology of Endodontics
The word has Greek roots and is a combination of ‘endo-’ meaning ‘interior’ and ‘-odontos’ meaning ‘belonging to the tooth’. So endodontics is simply the discipline of dentistry that is concerned with what’s going on inside the tooth. As you will see from this picture - the inside of a tooth is a pretty complex place!
Interior Tooth Infection
There are many ways that bacteria can get inside the tooth and cause infection. The hard enamel exterior of each of your teeth is useful for slicing and grinding food as you chew. But it also provides a shield against bacterial infection of the tooth’s interior. Decay, trauma, grinding, gum disease and wear and tear of artificial restorations (crowns and bridges) can all lead to bacteria breaking through the shield and causing an infection.
Our dental specialists use their expertise and the latest technology to diagnose exactly how far the bacteria have penetrated. Based on the findings of a clinical and radiographic examination, we will devise a treatment plan that will likely involve a root canal procedure.
The Purpose of Endodontic Treatment
The main purpose of our endodontic procedures is to remove all traces of bacterial infection from the interior of the tooth. With the patient under local anaesthetic, we will isolate and treat the infected tooth. In 90% of cases, once the root canal has been accessed, thoroughly cleaned and sealed, the tooth can be crowned and the patient can be eating and drinking normally later that day.
One of our specialists is specifically a specialist in endodontics. Daniel Vaz De Souza dedicates himself entirely to root canal procedures. He is an extremely skilled dental surgeon that even trains other dentists in his role as a clinical teacher in endodontics at King’s College London.
If you would like to know more about endodontic treatments, please download the pdf of our endodontics booklet that goes into considerably more detail than we can fit into a short blog post.
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