Parts of a Tooth
Before explaining what endodontics is and why endodontic therapy is helpful, it’s essential to understand the parts of a tooth. Every tooth has several components that work together to chew, grind, and process food, including:
- Enamel: The enamel is the tooth’s hard outer layer and the strongest substance in the whole human body. It protects the tooth from decay caused by acid and bacteria present in many foods.
- Dentin: Underneath the enamel lies the dentin, which is porous like a sponge and contains tiny nerve endings called tubules that give teeth their sensitivity when exposed to cold drinks or hot foods.
- Tooth Pulp: The tooth pulp is found at the center of each tooth and consists of nerves, capillaries, connective tissues, and other cells.
- Cementum: Lastly, cementum is an anchoring material overlying dentin at the tooth root, which helps keep it securely lodged in its bony socket in the jawbone.
Endodontics is a word of Greek origin meaning “inside the tooth.” So, dentists who practice endodontics treat the tissues inside the tooth, including situations where the tooth pulp is infected or inflamed.
Dentists typically run into two treatment options when a tooth is extensively infected or damaged: endodontic treatment or tooth extraction. Even though tooth extraction is necessary sometimes, it’s often better to save as much structural integrity of teeth as possible and reinstate normal function and comfort. Without endodontic therapy, many teeth would be extracted or lost, significantly impacting your smile’s health and appearance. Not only does endodontic therapy save your natural teeth, but it helps you continue speaking, chewing, and smiling with ease.
Our Frisco dental team offers two main types of endodontic treatments, including:
- Root Canal Treatment: Cleaning out the infected layer of the dental pulp, followed by filling and sealing the interior channels, is called root canal therapy.
- Pulpectomy: This procedure completely removes the dental pulp tissue from the crown to the root to treat infection and avoid tooth loss.