Simply stated, an endodontist is a specialist in saving teeth. They have a practice limited to root canal treatment and other procedures involving the soft inner tissue of the tooth (dental pulp) and the tissues surrounding the tooth in the jaw bone. An endodontist completes two or three years of advanced training beyond dental school.
What is endodontic treatment?
Also known as a root canal, endodontic treatment becomes necessary when the dental pulp is permanently injured. Tooth decay, repeated fillings, physical trauma, or periodontal disease are possible causes. Treatment involves removing the pulp, then cleaning, shaping, and sealing the root canal spaces. The tooth will remain alive because it is nourished by the adjacent tissues of the gums and surrounding bone. After completion of your root canal treatment, you should return to your family dentist for the permanent restoration of the tooth.
What are the alternative treatments?
Once the dental pulp is irreversibly damaged, the only alternative to a root canal is a tooth extraction. But with an extraction it is possible that the adjacent teeth will shift, interfering with biting and chewing unless the tooth is replaced by an implant, bridge, or partial denture. Shifting can also lead to periodontal disease. Replacement of the extracted tooth with an implant, bridge, or partial denture often costs more than root canal treatment and permanent restoration.
How many appointments are necessary?
Most cases referred to us are complex with treatment requiring one or more visits of about 90 minutes each. We will review potential treatment complications with you before getting started. Due to the length of the visits, we request that parents make arrangements for small children to remain at home.
Can all teeth be endodontically treated?
While not every tooth can be saved, modern endodontic therapy enjoys a success rate of over 90 percent. Occasionally, an additional surgical procedure is needed if the tissues surrounding the tooth do not heal normally after root canal. We’ll discuss potential complications prior to your treatment.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Thanks to modern local anesthetics, along with the latest techniques and instruments, you should experience little to no discomfort. If you do experience discomfort, however, please signal us and we will do everything possible to make you more comfortable.