About Endodontics

Healthy tooth diagramProfessional Endodontics is unique dental practice dedicated to providing a warm caring environment for our patients. Endodontics, or "root canal therapy", is one of the dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association and is the only type of treatment Dr. Janicek performs.

Endodontics is a specialty that specifically deals with disease of the dental pulp and supporting structures of the teeth. The purpose of the root canal is to save the tooth. Though general dentists can perform endodontic treatment, patients needing root canals are often referred to specialists due to the potential complexity or time consuming nature of the procedure. Some general dentists and patients simply prefer to have endodontics done by a specialist. The primary reason for this referral is the fact that endodontists have special training in this field – usually a two to three year program following graduation from dental school.

Infected tooth diagram

In order to better understand what we do, it helps to know a little bit about teeth. There are three main layers in teeth. The first is the hard outer shell called enamel. This is what we see when we look at someone's smile. Dentin is the supporting layer underneath the enamel. Within the dentin is a central core called the pulp, which contains the blood vessels, nerves, and other tissues that are essential to the tooth during development, as well as, supplies nutrients and sensation to the tooth.

The pulp, though essential in the development of the tooth, is not essential for function. The tooth is still able to receive the nutrients needed from the tissues that hold the tooth in place. We can, therefore, remove the pulp by performing endodontic therapy and have the tooth function normally.

Endodontic treatment is needed when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected or inflamed due to deep cavities, repeated dental procedures, cracks, chips, or trauma. If pulpal inflammation and/or infection are left untreated, pain can ensue as a result of infection and/or an abscess.

Endodontic treatment is done by removing the infected or inflamed pulpal tissue from the tooth. The canals from which the pulp is removed are then carefully cleaned and smoothed followed by placement of a permanent filling material. This treatment can usually be finished in one to two visits ranging from 30 to 90 minutes depending upon the tooth and the difficulty of the case. Once the root canal treatment is completed however, the patient is always instructed to return to their dentist to have a permanent restoration or crown placed on the tooth. This restoration is very important since it seals and protects the now cleaned canals from the oral environment, as well as, restores the tooth to function.

With the use of modern anesthetics, it is possible to achieve comfortable and painless treatment despite the initial level of discomfort. The sooner a patient seeks treatment, the more likely he or she is to have a pleasant and pain-free experience. When caught early, endodontic treatment mimics routine dental work.