An endodontist is a dental specialist. You may be referred to an endodontist by your general dentist when certain dental conditions arise. Endodontics encompasses a wide range of procedures that are specifically designed to save at-risk teeth.
If you have an upcoming appointment with an endodontist, or even if you’ve just heard of it but you’re not sure what they do, here’s a brief overview of the role of the endodontist in the field of dentistry.
What is an Endodontist?
An endodontist specializes in treating conditions such as infected teeth and problems with the roots of your teeth. Endodontists can restore the health of damaged or infected teeth through procedures that focus on the inside portion of your teeth. An endodontist must earn a general dentistry degree and then complete additional education and training in endodontics to receive certification.
Why Do I Need to See an Endodontist?
On the inside of each tooth there is a chamber called the root canal that contains soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves, called dental pulp. The pulp aids in the growth and development of the tooth and helps the tooth stay strong and healthy.
When there is a problem with the dental pulp, such as an infection, the tooth will need to be treated. Other reasons to see an endodontist include underdeveloped roots, root resorption (dissolving), cracked teeth, or dental trauma that has caused internal damage in one or more teeth.
What Services Do Endodontists Provide?
Endodontists typically provide the following endodontic services:
- Root canal therapy. A root canal is a procedure named for the part of the tooth it addresses. The root canal is the inner chamber of a tooth that extends from the crown to the roots and contains the dental pulp. When a tooth is infected or at risk of infection, a root canal removes the pulp and replaces it with a filler material.
- Endodontic retreatment. When root canal therapy is not successful the first time, or if the tooth becomes reinfected, endodontic retreatment may be necessary. The procedure is similar to a root canal, but extra care is taken to ensure that the tooth is fully cleaned out and filled.
- Endodontic or apical surgery. In some cases the source of the infection is through the root of the tooth under the gums. Endodontic surgery, also called apical surgery, involves removing the tip of the root, cleaning out the root canal, and placing a cap over the root tip to prevent reinfection.
- Treatment for dental trauma. Trauma, such as an accident, can cause damage to one or more teeth. If a tooth is bumped it can do internal damage that is not always visible at first. Then the tooth may turn gray or brown, indicating that the tooth needs to be treated.
- Internal bleaching. When a tooth has been infected or if the dental pulp dies, it can cause staining on the inside of the tooth that shows through the enamel. Internal bleaching can remove these stains for whiter teeth.
- Treatment for cracked teeth. A tooth that develops a crack or if a piece breaks off of a tooth, it will most likely need root canal therapy and a crown to prevent infection.
- Pulpectomy. A pulpectomy is similar to a root canal, but it doesn’t remove all of the dental pulp, just the infection.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Although your general dentist may refer you to an endodontist, you don’t need a referral to come in to Eagle Endodontics. We may request information about your dental history from your general dentist to determine the best way to treat your individual situation. Our goal is to save your teeth, if possible, through endodontic treatment.
To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our 2 convenient office locations.