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At the Dentist


When a tooth becomes infected, endodontics care is the best way to try and save the tooth and preserve a healthy smile. The dentists at Missoula Dental in Missoula, Montana, have extensive experience in endodontics and have earned a reputation in the region for delivering outstanding care for these advanced dental needs. Booking your visit is as simple as a phone call or a few moments on the online scheduling page.

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is a dental specialty focused on addressing issues in the roots of teeth as well as the surrounding tissues. The name comes from the Greek words “endo” meaning inside and “odont” meaning tooth. 

Root canals are the most common type of endodontic treatment. Other treatments include surgical procedures to save teeth damaged by traumatic injuries or procedures to address other issues beneath the gum line. 

What is a root canal and when is it necessary?

Root canal treatments are performed to treat an infection in the pulp of a tooth. To understand the procedure, it helps to think about how your teeth are structured. 

The outermost layer of your teeth is a thin shell of hard tissue called enamel. Just beneath lies another layer of hard tissue called dentin. 

Beneath your dentin is a chamber filled with a soft tissue called pulp. Your pulp contains a network of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. The pulp is critical for nurturing a developing tooth, but adults no longer need pulp as a fully developed tooth can receive adequate nourishment from surrounding tissues. 

Pulp can become infected due to advanced decay, a cracked tooth, or issues with an existing filling. Once infection sets in, it won’t resolve without treatment, and a root canal is needed to save the tooth and prevent significant pain. 

What are the steps in getting a root canal?

Your dentist will likely order X-rays or other imaging to learn more about what’s happening inside of your tooth. If a root canal is needed, the first step is numbing the area with an anesthetic. 

Your dentist then creates a small opening in the tooth to gain access to the inner chamber. Slim dental instruments are used to carefully remove all traces of pulp from the chamber and interior canals of the tooth roots. 

The emptied chamber is then rinsed before a special material called gutta-percha is cemented into place, filling all of the interior areas of the tooth. A small filling is placed to close the access opening, and a temporary crown is attached to protect the tooth until the permanent crown arrives. 

At that point, you’ll return to have the crown cemented into place. That completes the dental restoration, and no special care is required to preserve the health of the treated tooth. 

Learn more about root canals and other endodontic treatments during your next visit, which you can book online or over the phone today.

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