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what is endodontics?

Endodontists Save Teeth

All endodontists are dentists, but less than three percent of dentists are endodontists. While your general dentist is like a family doctor, great for regular cleanings, check-ups and general oral health, for specialized dental care like root canal treatment, seeing an endodontist is your best choice.

Endodontists are dentists who go back to school to specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy. Therapeutic procedures, involve the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word “endodontic” comes from “endo” meaning inside and “odont” meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it’s Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive three more years of advanced education in root canal treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

Diagnoses and Treatment of Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches, cracked or fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint. Because of vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth, headache, neckache, earache, and can be called referred pain. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma 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.

Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy? Root canal therapy is treatment of the infected or inflammed dental pulp (nerve) which aims at eliminating the infection. The infection source and further protecting the remaining tooth from future bacterial invasion.

There are 4 basic steps; location and negociation of the canals, shaping the canals, cleaning the canals and finally filling the canals. Following root canal therapy, it is recommended to return to your dentist within 30 days for a permanent restoration of the tooth.

 

Images from www.aae.org or www.dentalhealth.org

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