Endodontics is the term used for Root Canal. A root canal is when the pulp (nerve) of the tooth has become infected and died. This can happen when decay is very deep and goes to the nerve of the tooth. Impact is another way teeth may die, often times we see in a x-ray that patients have had a root canal done in one of the anterior teeth from a fall or accident. Falling that puts a lot of force on the mouth can cause teeth to become sore and die. Root canals can also be caused from grinding over time, occlusion being off (the way the teeth come together) or they can just die on their own.
Teeth do not always hurt when infection is present so it is very important to have a full set of x-rays for us to be able to properly diagnose a tooth.
A root canal is usually set up in two appointments. The first one beginning with making a very small access hole on the top part of the tooth, this way the dentist will be able to go in with different files and find the canals and sterilize out the necrotic pulp tissue to get rid of any infection. The top of the tooth is sealed up with a temporary filling material. Once this is done the patient may be sent home with a prescription of antibiotics based on the extent of the infection.
The second appointment the small access hole will be opened and the tooth will then be filed and sterilized once more and the canals will be filled with a special filling material to take the place of the nerve of the tooth. Once the tooth is completely filled a permanent filling can be place then or at your next appointment