Even if you’ve never had one, you’ve probably heard of a root canal before. You’ll know it’s a term that can strike fear into the heart of any dental patient, but what you probably don’t know about is the fascinating world of endodontics.
An endodontist is a dentist specializing in the area of the soft inner tissue of the tooth, otherwise known as the pulp. In fact, the word “endodontic” comes from the Greek words “endo,” meaning “inside” and “odont,” meaning “tooth.” A root canal is the most common endodontic procedure. It involves extracting infected or decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshaping the canal, and replacing it with a filler to strengthen the tooth.
Root canals have a bad reputation for being a painful procedure, but this is not the case. It is actually one of the least uncomfortable dental techniques there is, and produces minimal pain, much like having a cavity filled.
While all dentists will likely be trained in root canals, an endodontist will have devoted a lot more to this fascinating area, perhaps two or three years. Throughout their advanced education, they will study root canal techniques and procedures in much greater depth, allowing them to diagnose and treat more difficult cases.
When would you need an endodontist?
There are several reasons why a dental patient might require treatment from an endodontist. A root canal treatment is usually needed when the pulp from your tooth has become infected. This could be due to several different factors, including:
- Tooth decay
- A damaged filling
- Damage to the tooth due to trauma, such as a fall
When you need endodontic work done, you will usually experience various symptoms such as increased sensitivity to hot and cold, pain when biting or chewing, or your tooth may start to feel loose. If these symptoms are left untreated, they could worsen and lead to severe tooth decay. For this reason, it would be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an endodontist right away.
What happens in a root canal treatment?
At the start of the treatment, your endodontist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the affected area. They will then place a rubber dental dam around your tooth to isolate it, before opening it up via the crown to reveal the infected or decayed pulp. They will remove the pulp and then comprehensively clean and reshape the root canal. Your endodontist will then refill the tooth using a biocompatible filling material and then cover the opening with a temporary covering. After a recovery period, you will have to return one final time to have a permanent restoration placed. The process is simple, and you will experience minimal discomfort.
If you are suffering from heightened sensitivity or tooth pain, you may require a root canal treatment. You should get in touch with a dentist immediately to determine whether you need an endodontist. At Dolive DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide quality dental care to patients in and around the Longview, Texas area. Give us a call now to book an appointment.