Suppose you are having trouble with your eyesight. Who would you go to for treatment? A physician or an eye specialist? of course an eye specialist. Similarly, endodontists are specialists who deal with procedures like root canals and other procedures related to the interior of the tooth.
Apart from performing dental fillings and root canals, endodontist specializes in various complex treatments involving dental pulp. For such complex treatments, they have special materials like absorbent paper points to eliminate moisture from a root canal and make the treatment successful.
What do endodontists do?
Endodontists, also known as root canal dentists, deal with internal dental conditions and perform root canals more often than regular dentists. They receive additional training in root canals and perform the procedure in a higher volume due to their expertise in the field.
Apart from that, endodontists have expertise in diagnosing and treating complex tooth pain conditions and performing complex dental surgeries. Here are some of the dental procedures other than root canals that an endodontist commonly performs.
- Endodontic Retreatment: The procedure involves removing and replacing materials used in a previous root canal that failed to heal properly.
- Tooth extraction or removal surgery: Typically, endodontists perform tooth extraction or removal surgery when a tooth is extremely damaged is beyond saving.
- Emergency dental surgery: It may involve treating deadly tooth infections or repairing complex tooth surgeries.
- Dental implant surgery: Dental implant surgery involves surgical placement of the implant to support prosthetics, which is done by endodontists.
- Endodontic surgery: Special dental surgeries like apicoectomy – a procedure that involves the removal of the root, end, or tip is performed by an endodontist.
How does an endodontist perform a root canal?
Endodontists have special equipment to repair tissues inside a tooth. In fact, they have a dedicated chair to perform root canal procedures. The procedure starts with administering a local anesthetic to the patient to numb the area. Next, they place a tiny tarp over your tooth to block the area and your mouth from infection.
They access the dental pulp from the top or behind the damaged tooth and remove diseased pulp tissues. The next step is to clean and disinfects the area. Endodontists used these special absorbent paper points to extract moisture from the canals during the procedure so the area can be dried leading to successful obturation.
In the last step, the endodontist fills the tooth and seals the area to protect it.
Endodontists are pain management experts:
Endodontists have advanced technology and techniques, with the help of which they ensure patients’ ease during the procedure. They specialize in administering anesthesia, including patients who have difficulty staying numb. After performing a root canal, patients feel better in the pain and tooth infection.
All endodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are endodontists. In fact, less than 3% of dentists opt for advanced studies and pursue endodontics. They must invest an additional two years in education after dental school.
When should you refer to an endodontist?
Ideally, when there is an internal dental problem, your dentist will recommend you consult an endodontist. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms, you can directly visit an endodontist to receive immediate treatment.
- Sharp nagging tooth pain
- Teeth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
- Unexplained pain in the tooth or jaw
- Inflammation in gums or near the affected area
In some cases, normal tooth pain can pose a serious threat to your overall health. Therefore, you should seek immediate consultation, especially if you experience signs of abscess or severe tooth infection.
Possible signs of infection include:
- High fever
- Difficulty swallowing or even breathing
- Swelling in your mouth extending to your cheeks
A severe tooth infection or dental pain can take over your life. Not just it causes discomfort, but it can take a toll on your mental and physical health if left untreated. If you have early signs of dental infection, it’s best to schedule an appointment with an endodontist since they specialize in diagnosing complex causes of dental pain.
Most likely, your problem will get resolved by just a simple root canal. However, if the pain and discomfort persist, your endodontist will determine other treatment options.