Endodontists – Solution for an Infected Tooth
Some patients don't know what to expect from their first visit to an endodontist and wonder what the experience will entail. These are some commonly asked questions regarding treatments with endodontists.
What is an Endodontist?
An endodontist is a dental specialist who has received extensive training in complex and delicate dental procedures. They are more highly trained than traditional dentists, completing two additional years of advanced education after dental school. They have earned a Master's degree in Dentistry and completed an extensive residency in endodontics. Patients are often referred to an endodontist for care when there are moderate to severe dental health complications.
What Does an Endodontist Do?
Endodontists typically focus on the pulp of the tooth. The inner portion of the tooth contains the pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and other soft tissues of the teeth. While most dentists can handle small cavities and decay, sometimes the infection erodes the hard enamel and travels deeper into the soft tissues. As a result, it may start invading surrounding areas. This decay can affect the root and pulp, causing discomfort. Endodontists use advanced techniques to remove the infected tissue, treat the diseased tooth, and repair the affected area.
Who Should See an Endodontist?
People often seek an endodontist to aid with deep infections, as those issues can pose more of a challenge to treat. Endodontists can also fix teeth that require multiple rounds of treatment, diagnose unexplained tooth pain, and manage trauma to the teeth. Although a dentist can assist with some of these issues, an endodontist has more specialized training and experience treating the problems correctly. In addition, root canals are a standard procedure that endodontists perform.
What Can Be Expected From a Visit to the Endodontist?
Early in the appointment, a dental staff member will ask you to submit an intake form to assess your reason for seeing the endodontist. Next, the doctor will review any X-rays or labs that your dentist may have already performed. Then you will be given an examination. Next, you will work with your endodontist to develop a treatment plan for your unique situation. This point in the appointment is a great time to discuss financial questions, concerns about pain management, and recovery times. Your endodontist is there to help you heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible to get back to your life without pain.
What Do Endodontists Treat?
Although endodontists treat various conditions, the most common procedure performed is a root canal. Sometimes, endodontists are referred to as root canal specialists because they spend much of their time performing them. However, they can also perform other oral procedures such as removing infection, emergency dental work, tooth extraction, and implant dentistry.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a treatment where the endodontist removes all of the affected tissue within an infected tooth. When the tooth's pulp has inflammation from infection, there can be a substantial amount of pain. Removing the dead and infected tissue within the tooth can alleviate that discomfort. In addition, the removal of the bacteria reduces the likelihood of spreading to adjacent teeth. After treating the infection, the endodontist will reconstruct the tooth with a filling.
How is a Root Canal Performed?
Once a determination is made that a root canal is required, you will schedule an appointment for the procedure.
On root canal day, pain management is a priority. First, the endodontist may give you a mild sedative to keep you relaxed through the procedure. Next, your endodontist will numb the area around the affected tooth. Once you are completely numb, the process can begin.
The endodontist may place many things in or near the mouth. First, they will use a clean dressing to keep the infection localized. Lights, water, and suction will also aid the procedure. Next, the endodontist will access the tooth's pulp using a small dental drill to clean any infection or affected tissue. Some patients prefer to listen to music throughout the procedure.
After they have cleaned and treated the tooth, the endodontist will perform a filling. They will then seal the tooth to prevent future infection.
For the remainder of the day, a portion of your mouth may remain numb. It is important to eat soft foods to avoid biting the cheek or tongue until you regain the feeling. Some individuals may require an OTC pain medication for two to three days following the procedure.
Is Having a Root Canal Painful?
Having a root canal should not be painful. Some people report feeling pressure during the procedure, but you should alert your provider if you feel any pain. It is a priority to make sure that you don't feel discomfort while in the office and that you can manage any pain once you go home to recover.
The expertise of an endodontist is a valuable asset to your dental health team. Be sure to ask any other questions you may have regarding upcoming visits with your provider.