What is an Endodontist?
If you are reading this page, it probably means that your General Dentist has
referred you to see an Endodontist for consultation and/or treatment on one or
more of your teeth. You may be thinking, “what is an Endodontist and why am I
An Endodontist is a dental specialist who deals with infections that
occur inside the tooth. You might be experiencing pain to hot or cold
temperatures, biting, swelling, gum sensitivity, abscess, discoloration
of the tooth, or you may have no symptoms at all. You might be
experiencing these symptoms because of deep decay, trauma, chipping,
cracking, or repeated dental procedures. In some cases, the inside of a
tooth (called the pulp) dies, or becomes necrotic, for no apparent
There are several ways in which Endodontists save teeth that have
infections or necrosis, but most common procedure is called a root canal
treatment. More than 14 million teeth receive some form of root canal
treatment each year—you’re not alone. Moreover, you’re in good hands.
All Endodontists complete two years of post doctorate education to
become a specialist. That’s approximately 10 years of college.
Root Canal Treatment
Every tooth consists of three different layers. The
outermost and hardest layer is enamel, and the second
layer is dentin. The third is pulp, which is the
cavernous space where the live tissue and nerve of each
tooth is located.
If for any reason the pulp space is exposed to the
outside, the tissue becomes contaminated and eventually
infected. The exposure of pulp happens in many circumastances, such as when you have a large cavity or
a fractured tooth. Your dentist can explain the exact
reason for damage to this tissue. In these cases, the
treatment is usually root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment is the process of going inside
the pulp space and removing the infected, dead tissue.
The space is then disinfected and sealed with special
materials. Nowadays, root canal treatments are performed
with advanced techniques and materials, making them far
more comfortable and faster. After root canal treatment
is complete, your restorative dentist will usually place
a crown on your tooth to safeguard against fracture.
Root Canal Retreatment
When a root canal treatment fails, the first course of
action that is usually taken is trying to re-do the root
canal treatment. It is usually done by an Endodontist
(root canal specialist) or an experienced general
The process is very similar to Root canal Treatment, the
difference is that besides taking any remaining infected
tissue out, the doctor has to take old filling material,
any posts and crowns or any other obstacle in the pulp
space out to be able to successfully disinfect and seal
the area of the root canal.
After the root canal treatment is done your restorative
dentist will place a crown to protect the tooth against
All appointments start with a consultation exam.
However, an emergency appointment can be made if you are
in too much pain and can not wait to schedule a two hour
The doctor can perform a procedure which opens the tooth
to remove the nerve, then packs the tooth with
medication to kill infection, and finally places a
temporary filling. This procedure significantly reduces
pain and starts the healing process until you are able
to return to finish the root canal.
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