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What is endodontics?
Endodontics is one of the dental specialties in dentistry that deals with the treatment of dental pulp and surrounding tissues of the inner part of a tooth.
Dental pulp is located inside your tooth and consists of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues. It is simply what makes your tooth alive through nerves and blood supplies. When a pulp is damaged or infected due to injuries, tooth decay, erosion or bacterial infections, if not treated, the tooth will become diseased or let’s say dies.
Therefore, endodontics will revive the tooth with a treatment known as root canal therapy. The goal of endodontists specifically is to have more of your natural teeth by any means rather than extracting the tooth.
Who is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dental specialist who has additional training in performing root canal therapy and treating other interior problems of teeth. To become an endodontist, general dentists should spend 2 to 3 years of more training in college. An endodontist should master pathology and physiology related to dental pulp and the surrounding tissues (periapical tissues). These trainings will make an endodontist to be a super specialist in tooth pain and highly trained in difficult dental pulp treatments.
What does an endodontist do?
Endodontists have passed all courses that you can expect from a general dentist. Root canal therapy or treating the diseased dental pulp is their principal specialty. Normally experienced dentists that have delt with endodontic cases in their clinics will do root canal treatment. If a dentist doesn’t have as much experience in root canal or the procedure requires complex intervention, he or she will refer you to an endodontist.
You can visit an endodontist for the following dental issues:
- Tooth pain.
Since they are masters in pain diagnosis, endodontists detect accurately the cause of pain and therefore a suitable treatment for your tooth pain. Visiting an endodontist is key to know the cause and manage your dental pain.
- Unexpected continuous pains in your tooth or jaws.
You may have dull continuous pain which can be the sign that the dental pulp has been damaged or infected.
- teeth sensitivity or feeling of pain by cold or hot irritants.
Sensitivity can be one common symptoms of a pulp damage.
- infection and inflammation.
swelling and bacterial infection can be the symptom of tooth abscess, gum disease or an underlying dental condition
- tooth injury.
Dental injuries can cause fracture or cracks and sometimes can dislodge your tooth from its place.
After taking images and performing special pulp testing on your damaged tooth, endodontist will diagnose the exact cause of your tooth pain and sensitivity. They will spot and diagnose precisely the inflammation and infection in your tooth.
If an injury has resulted in tooth displacement and dislodgment, endodontist will fix the tooth in its socket. After all the preliminary work, if root canal is deemed necessary, they will perform root canal procedure.
What does an endodontist do during root canal treatment?
Root canal is done under local anesthesia, so it is a comfortable and pain-free procedure. At the root canal therapy, your endodontist removes the infected pulp. Then the root canals inside your tooth are disinfected, filled with special materials and sealed. The procedure might take one to two sessions.
Sometimes, you might wait days or weeks before receiving the final part of the operation. If extensive restoration is necessary, you will need another appointment to have your upper tooth made. Your endodontist has saved the tooth and there is no need for extraction. Endodontists, together with general dentists, believe in saving as much natural teeth as possible.
What else are endodontists specialize in?
According to American Association of Endodontists (AAE), you may need to have endodontic surgery when a nonsurgical root canal treatment can’t solve your problem alone. Root canal is a highly successful procedure. You will have your tooth back with no sudden, lingering pain again.
But you can expect anything like:
- the coming back of a pain on the same tooth that you had root canal on.
- Problems with root of your tooth and sudden pains that can be difficult for a general dentist to diagnose or may go undetected during nonsurgical root canal
- Narrow root due to calcification issues that require endodontic surgery to perform normal root canal
- And finally, any scenarios that require endodontists to step in and do endodontic surgery to save your tooth and eliminate the surrounding inflammation and tooth pain
AAE explains that endodontists are specialize in numerous endodontic surgeries on your tooth. They do these endodontic surgeries to restore your tooth to a normal situation or in order to make root canal procedure possible.
Some of the common endodontic surgeries performed by an endodontist are:
- Periapical surgery.
Periapical surgery is a term used for a series of surgeries on the apex (tip of the root of teeth). Periapical surgery involves apicoectomy, or root end surgery. In apicoectomy, the roots end of the tooth is removed and then sealed with a small filling material at the end. It allows for a normal root canal to be done.
- Abscess drainage.
Abscess in your tooth can cause inflammation and severe forms of infection, which leads to pain and an extreme discomfort. If left ignored, the abscess will spread to other soft and bony parts of your jaws. With this procedure, your endodontist will drain the infection out of the tooth which relieves your pain. They find the cause of the abscess and plan for a suitable treatment.
- Intentional replantation.
Sometimes, periapical surgery is a difficult procedure or it can’t be done when the tooth is its socket. Endodontists do intentional replantation or tooth replantation. In this procedure, your tooth is extracted for the endodontic treatment out of the socket. Then after necessary periapical surgeries, the tooth is reinserted into its place.
- Corrective surgery.
Your endodontist will treat the problems associated with the resorption or procedural issues in the root and its surrounding tissues using corrective surgeries.