Endodontics, pronounced en-do-don-tics, is a specialty area of dentistry that focuses on treatment inside the tooth. This includes treatment of the diseased dental pulp (or the nerve of the tooth), tooth root and surrounding tissues. Endodontic procedures are commonly referred to as root canal treatment or root canal therapy. Other specialist endodontic treatment includes root canal retreatment, apicoectomies (a microsurgical procedure to remove a cyst or inflammatory tissue at the end of a tooth root) and management of dental emergencies. Endodontic treatment also includes management following dental trauma. When teeth are bumped, cracked or knocked out (avulsed), root canal treatment may be needed to save the tooth.
Root canal treatment commonly involves removing the inflamed or infected dental pulp. The dental pulp is the part of the tooth that allows us to feel temperature and alerts you to the presence of a problem like tooth decay. When bacteria enter the pulp through cracks, decay or following a bump or knock to the tooth, the pulp becomes inflamed and the tooth and surrounding area will become sore. Common symptoms are increased sensitivity to temperature (hot and cold), spontaneous aching, pain with biting or pressure and swelling. Any of those symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment.
The basic procedure can be seen in the diagram or viewed in the introductory video below.
Want to know more about Endodontics? Watch our introductory video.
Other root canal questions.
Some other common questions about root canal treatment are listed below.