What is Endodontics?

June 15, 2021 Jeffrey T. Baker, DDS PC

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Endodontics is the study of the root and pulp of the tooth and how to best treat them. The root extends down connecting to your jaw bone and contains the pulp plus the ligament that connects the teeth to the tooth sockets. When something goes wrong with your tooth’s pulp, our Shelby Township dentists are here to help.

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of endodontic procedures.

What Is Tooth Pulp?

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

Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy

While these two procedures seem 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 known as “baby root canals” and are generally performed on 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, filled, and a stainless steel crown may be placed.

Similar to pulpectomies, root canals extract infected roots and pulp, but they vary in a couple 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 roots. Apicoectomies are not generally the go-to procedure. If you have a dental bridge or other obstacle that eliminates root canal treatment as an option, our dentists 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 infection which 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 cause a pimple-like swelling on the gums.

Tooth Extraction

This may sound scary, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. 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.

Make an Appointment Today

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. Our dentists in Shelby Township, MI, can talk with you about your options before determining what’s best for you.

This blog post has been updated.

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