Endodontics and Root Canals
Serving Northern Virginia including Oakton, Fairfax, Reston, Alexandria, Arlington and Washington D.C.
Endodontics is dental work on the inside of a tooth. It’s more popularly known as Root Canal Therapy. When bacteria are allowed to build up in the mouth, and their acid toxins start causing decay of tooth enamel, that decay can spread completely through the hard enamel to the tooth’s interior.
What’s in a tooth?
Inside the visible part of a tooth (the crown) is a space known as the pulp chamber. It extends down inside the tooth roots right to their tips in the jawbone. This is where blood vessels and nerves enter the teeth from the body’s circulatory and nervous systems. Because it’s the tooth’s root that contains this long chamber, it’s known as the Root Canal. There may be up to four roots per tooth, each with a root canal.
What we call “pulp” consists of the small blood vessels and nerves, plus fibrous connective tissue. Bacteria can enter the pulp through spreading decay that has broken down part of the enamel, or through a crack in the enamel.
When bacteria get inside the pulp, infection spreads and reaches the nerve inside that root canal. When the nerve is subjected to bacterial toxins and infection, we have a toothache. When the nerve finally dies, that toothache disappears, but the problem continues.
Decay, if left untreated, can spread right down the root canal into the jawbone. Since there are blood vessels in the root canal and gums, infection can get into the bloodstream and thus travel to any other part of the body.
If the problems are treated early enough, the tooth root can be saved. General Dentist Dr. Chung can do this by cleaning out the bacteria, their debris, and all infected material from the tooth and root canal, and then filling it with dental materials. By the time the root canal needs saving, the tooth’s crown is already past saving, and needs a crown.
Dr. Chung can place a strong porcelain crown over the remaining tooth structure, and fill the root canal with a rubbery substance called Gutta Percha. He seals off the tip of the root to prevent any leaking.
You now have a newly reinforced tooth with no nerve. The porcelain crown part of the tooth looks, feels, and functions like your regular teeth. The nerve’s absence means you will have no more toothaches in that tooth, and does not compromise the tooth in any way. It can exist indefinitely without any nerve.
For more information see Questions About Endodontics. >
If you are suffering from a toothache, please contact our general dentistry office as soon as possible. Delay will not help; it will allow the problem to get worse. Don’t be deceived if your toothache stops. The bacteria are still there, still damaging the rest of the tooth. We can schedule an endodontics consultation for you and if you would like to proceed with endodontic therapy to solve the problem, we will be glad to set that up for you and answer all of your cosmetic dentistry and porcelain crown questions.
We serve Oakton, Tyson’s Corner, Reston, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Washington D.C. and the Northern Virginia area.