What do endodontists do?
While all licensed dentists have studied endodontic dentistry to some degree, endodontists received two additional years of specific training. When a general dentist refers a patient to an endodontist rather than performing a root canal him/herself, it’s often because root canals can be delicate, involved procedures. The additional education and experience endodontists have allow them to perform these advanced procedures both more effectively and more efficiently.
What does a root canal involve?
First things first. Before any actual work is done on your teeth or gums, the doctor will apply a local anesthetic. Because root canals involve sensitive nerves, this is an important step. We want to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.
In order to isolate the tooth in need of a root canal, the doctor will then place a rubber dam around the tooth. This helps keep the area dry and clean. By default, rubber dams are made of latex. However, if you have a latex allergy just let us know. Non-latex rubber dams are also available.
With the area prepped and an anesthetic applied, the actual treatment can be administered. Most of the time, this is fairly straightforward. A standard root canal involves only 3-4 steps and can typically be done in one visit. However, there are times when complications, like severe inflammation, may warrant additional visits. Our goal is to tailor your root canal specifically to your needs. If we can complete the procedure in one visit, we will.
The vast majority of the time, root canal procedures are successful. (They have a 90% effectiveness rate.) Of course, we cannot guarantee that your root canal will fully address your issues. If you remain in pain or if further treatment is needed, we’ll discuss your options with you and lay out a plan to get your smile back in tip-top shape as quickly as possible.
What other forms of treatment do endodontists perform?
While root canals are the most common endodontic treatment, our doctors can address several other issues:
Patients often feel better almost immediately after a root canal procedure, but our bodies take some time to fully heal. Our standard recommendation is that root canal patients follow-up with us 12 months later, just to ensure that everything is truly resolved and that your mouth is healing properly.
Though it’s rare, sometimes an initial root canal does not fully address a patient’s issues. When this happens, there are often additional endodontic treatments that can save the tooth and put an end to any discomfort.
Treatment of Dental Trauma
Traumatic injury, due to a blow received during a sporting event, for example, can result in root or pulp damage. These kinds of injuries warrant careful treatment, especially if the tooth is still developing. In such cases, our doctors rely on a treatment called apexification. Apexification works by stimulating the development of bone deposits on the end of a tooth’s roots. When performed in combination with a root canal, this procedure can save teeth.
General Oral Pain
Sometimes it’s very difficult to identify the source of general oral pain. This is true because the nerves that run through our mouths and jaws form a complex network. Pain in one location can indicate a problem in an entirely different location. Our doctors have years of experience in tracking down the source of this kind of pain, and our advanced imaging technology makes this process even faster and more effective.