What is Endodontics?

June 15, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

Endodontics is the study of the root and pulp of the tooth and how to best treat them. The root actually makes up the majority of the tooth, but it’s all concealed by the crown and your gums. The root extends down connecting to your jaw bone and contains the pulp plus the ligament that connects the teeth to the tooth sockets.

The pulp is the innermost part of your tooth containing nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels that are protected by the enamel and dentin. There are a number of procedures and infections that require an endodontist, a dentist with two years of specialized endodontic training. 

Happy couple on a sunny dayPulpotomy vs Pulpectomy

While these two procedures are similar, there’s a major difference. A pulpectomy extracts the entire pulp of a tooth including the infected root; whereas, a pulpotomy only removes the pulp within the tooth’s crown.

Pulpotomy means “to cut the pulp” and pulpectomy means “to remove the pulp.” Generally, a pulpotomy aims to save the healthy pulp that remains.

Pulpectomy vs Root Canal

Pulpectomies are for children’s baby teeth that have experienced significant decay or trauma. The infected or damaged pulp is removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and filled, but there’s no crown because it’ll come out and be replaced by the permanent tooth. 

Similar to pulpectomies, root canals extract infected roots and pulp, but they vary in a couple of key ways. One of the biggest differences is they’re done on permanent teeth. Also, the root canal is cleaned then filled with gutta-percha, a rubber-like substance, to provide support and seal off the area.


This is the removal of infected tissue at the bottom of your tooth’s root(s). Apicoectomies, also know as root end procedure, are not generally the go-to procedure. If you have a dental bridge or another obstacle that eliminates root canal treatment as an option, your dentist will likely recommend an apicoectomy since they start at the bottom rather than the top.

Tooth Infection & Abscess 

The buildup of bacteria in the mouth causes an infection that can penetrate the tooth if there’s a chip, crack, recent injury, and/or decay. This build-up of bacteria if left untreated produces pus which can look like a pimple in the gums.

Tooth Extraction

This may sound scary, but it’s actually a pretty normal practice. The most common form of tooth extraction is wisdom teeth removal. Some people experience intense pain and other serious complications if they don’t get their wisdom teeth removed.

If a tooth is too damaged or decayed then tooth extraction may be the best solution for the optimal health and look of your mouth.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you think you need endodontic treatment, you can call the dental office of Jeffrey T. Baker DDS PC at (586) 992-9222 to schedule an appointment. You may also fill out our online contact form. We’ll talk about your options then see what’s best for you.

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