What is an Endodontist?
All dentists, including your general dentist, received endodontic training in dental school. General dentists can perform endodontic procedures along with dental procedures, but often they refer patients needing endodontic treatment to endodontists.
Endodontists are dentists with special training in endodontic procedures. Endodontic specialists have had advanced training and typically have technologies not available to non-specialists that enable them to provide successful treatment in special, truly difficult cases. The decision to consult a specialist is usually based on the complexity of treatment. Endodontists are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose.
What is a Endodontic Treatment (Root Canal) and How is it Performed?
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Nothing is as good as a natural tooth! And sometimes your natural tooth may need Endodontic (root canal) treatment for it to remain a healthy part of your mouth.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as a visible injury or swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums, discoloration of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums. In addition, a blow to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess. Sometimes, there are no symptoms.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Most patients report that having Endodontic (root canal) treatment today is as unremarkable as having a cavity filled.
Alternatives to endodontic surgery
Often, the only alternative to surgery is extraction of the tooth. The extracted tooth must then be replaced with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and to prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. Because these alternatives require surgery or dental procedures on adjacent healthy teeth, endodontic surgery is usually the most cost-effective option for maintaining your oral health.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.
No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is as good as a natural tooth. The pay-off for choosing endodontic surgery could be a healthy, functioning natural tooth for the rest of your life. With the appropriate care, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment will last as long as other natural teeth.
Call us today at 775.423.7400 to schedule a consultation for your specific dental needs.