Endodontics is the term use to describe the treatment of the internal portion of an abscessed tooth, dead tooth or a tooth damaged and exposing the nerves. The most common term for this procedure is a root canal treatment. A tooth is like a hollow tube open at the tip of the root and closed at the other end, the crown (the part that we see in the mouth). If the nerves and the blood vessels in this hollow tube get damaged, the treatment required is a root canal. The process is the cleaning of the internal hollow of the tooth and then the placement of special root canal filling, thus retaining the tooth in the mouth. If a damaged tooth requiring a root canal treatment is left untreated, the eventual treatment will be the extraction (removal) of the tooth.
A tooth becomes abscessed due to a bacteria invasion of the internal part of the tooth (the pulp). The rapid growth of bacteria produces pressure and hence extreme pain.
Quite often a tooth may be dead. The content of the pulp chamber dries up leaving a void in the hollow of the tooth. Often, heat can cause pain in such a dead tooth. Most often a dead tooth is detected on an X-ray of the root of the tooth. Most dead teeth are a result of trauma (blow to the tooth).
Tooth with Exposed Nerve
Often an accident may cause the fracture of the top of the tooth. If such a fracture exposes the nerves of the tooth, the only option is usually a root canal treatment. A minor nerve exposure may be treated with special medication and a filling.