What Is Endodontics and What Does an Endodontist Do?

What Is Endodontics and What Does an Endodontist Do?

Team Endodontics

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth. While a general dentist provides a wide range of services that address the entire mouth, an endodontist primarily focuses on the inside of the teeth, particularly the root canal and the dental pulp.

If you’ve been referred to an endodontist, you may be wondering what they do. Here’s what makes an endodontist different from a general dentist.

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is the field of dentistry that focuses on the health of the teeth from the inside. At the center of each tooth is a chamber called the root canal. It begins at the base of the crown and extends down into the root of the tooth. The root canal contains dental pulp, soft tissue made up of blood vessels and nerves. The dental pulp is what helps the tooth develop and grow into maturity. It is the life force of the tooth, sustaining its health and vitality.

Endodontics includes a variety of procedures that treat the dental pulp to restore or preserve the health of the teeth. The most commonly known endodontic procedure is root canal treatment.

What Additional Training Does an Endodontist Complete?

After completing dental school and earning their doctor of medicine in dentistry or doctor of dental surgery, additional training is required in the field of endodontics. Endodontists must complete an additional 2-3 years in an advanced endodontic residency program to be qualified to practice.

Reasons to See an Endodontist

You may be referred to an endodontist for any of the following reasons:

  • You need a root canal. Many general dentists perform root canals, but endodontists specialize in this procedure. They have specialized equipment that can make root canal treatment gentler and more effective.
  • You need endodontic retreatment. If your tooth becomes reinfected after having a root canal it will need endodontic retreatment, which is essentially a repeat root canal. An endodontist can ensure that your tooth is thoroughly treated.
  • You have a tooth that is at-risk of infection. A tooth that has a large cavity or extensive decay or damage, is at risk of infection. A root canal can be performed proactively to prevent the tooth from developing an infection.
  • The tooth that needs treatment has a complex root structure. The larger the tooth, the more complex the root structure may be. There could be multiple canals that will need to be cleaned out and filled, and an endodontist is better prepared for this type of situation.
  • You have a cracked tooth. A cracked tooth should be treated with a root canal to prevent infection.
  • You need endodontic surgery. Sometimes the root of an infected tooth needs to be treated, which requires endodontic surgery to access the apex (tip) of the root. Apical surgery is something an endodontist specializes in.

Frequently Asked Questions About Endodontics

What are the benefits of going to an endodontist?

An endodontist is a specialist, which means they are more highly qualified to provide root canals and specific endodontic treatments. They have advanced technology that can make the procedure more accurate, thorough, and comfortable.

Do children need to see an endodontist?

A child may need to see an endodontist for a pulpectomy, which is more commonly known as a baby root canal. This procedure is performed on a baby tooth to treat and prevent infection until the tooth is naturally shed.

How To Find a Qualified Endodontist

Your dentist may refer you to an endodontist, or you can find your own. Eagle Endodontics provides a wide range of services that are designed to restore the health of your teeth and save teeth that are at-risk. Dr. Sarraf is a highly qualified endodontist with many years of experience in the field.

Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations.