What is an Endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in root canal
have advanced surgical and nonsurgical skills that make them uniquely
qualified to treat routine as well as complex cases. After completing dental school, endodontists attend a two- or three-year advanced dental
school program that focuses only on endodontic science and procedures. Endodontists also attend continuing education courses
after they are in practice, so they are knowledgeable about state-of-the-art
research, clinical procedures, and technology. The American Board of Endodontics
provides an objective examination process to evaluate an endodontist
once they have been in practice. Less
than 25% of all endodontists in the United States
achieve board certification. Dr. Beach
completed his board certification in 2008 and is a Diplomate
of the American Board of Endodontics.
What is endodontic treatment?
is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek
for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.
endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the
tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the
dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp
contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the
surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it
connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a
tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can
survive without the pulp, because the tooth continues to be nourished by the
tissues surrounding it.
Why would I need an endodontic
Endodontic treatment is necessary
when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or
infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep
decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the
tooth. In addition, an injury 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.
What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold,
tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling,
drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and
gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected
pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside
the root, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your
dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect
and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to
function like any other tooth.
Endodontic treatment can often be
performed in one or two visits and involves the following steps:
endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth,
then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist places a small protective sheet called a
“dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and
free of saliva during the procedure.
2. The endodontist
makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used
to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space
3. After the space is
cleaned and shaped, the endodontist fills the root
canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called
“gutta-percha.” The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure
complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is
placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your
dentist before the tooth is restored.
the final visit with your endodontist, you must
return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the
tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
Who performs endodontic treatment?
All dentists, including your general dentist, received some
training in endodontics while in dental school.
Often general dentists refer patients needing root canal treatment to endodontists.
Will I feel pain during or after the
many patients may be in great pain before seeing an endodontist,
most report that the pain is relieved by the endodontist
and that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days
after treatment, the tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain
or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with
over-the-counter or prescription medications. The endodontist
will tell you how to care for your tooth at home.
I'm worried about
x-rays. Should I be?
While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an
advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography. It produces radiation levels close to 90
percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray
machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent
to your referring dentist via e-mail.
What happens after
When your root canal therapy has been
completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative
dentist. You should contact his or her office for a follow-up restoration
within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will
decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.