"Endo" is Greek for "inside," while "odont" is Greek for "tooth." As such, endodontic treatments are any treatments that involve the inside of the tooth. The interior of the tooth is also known as the tooth’s pulp. Accordingly, endodontists are specialists in saving teeth. Some standard endodontic services involve root canal treatment and endodontic retreatment.
Root canal treatment is a relatively simple procedure that relieves dental pain and saves the tooth. This treatment is necessary to remove any inflammation or infection in the pulp. If this first procedure fails or the tooth becomes reinfected, then endodontic retreatment is possible. During this process, the endodontist must reopen the tooth to clean and fill the canals with a temporary filling.
By focusing their expertise on the tooth’s interior, endodontists are typically more experienced in root canal treatments than dentists.
The average endodontist performs 25 root canal treatments per week — a far cry from the average dentist’s two. Furthermore, since endodontists dedicate themselves to diagnosing and treating tooth pain, they also tend to be more skilled in treating difficult-to-diagnose oral and facial pain issues.
Although all endodontists must finish dental school, not all dentists must train in endodontics. Thus, while all endodontists are dentists, very few dentists are endodontists.
It is a common misconception that root canal treatments are painful. Thanks to modern technology and anesthetics, the procedure is typically not much more uncomfortable than a cavity filling. Our team will answer all questions and concerns before treatment to help quell dental anxiety.
It varies on a case-by-case basis. Typically, root canal treatments are reserved for more severely cracked teeth. Other treatment options for more minor cases include bonding, crowns, glue, and fillings.
Not all teeth that require root canal treatment will have noticeable symptoms. Infections can be painless, leading affected individuals to believe that they have gone away. Often, routine radiographs and clinical examinations are the only way to ensure whether an infection is present.
The endodontist will send a copy of your X-rays and a record of your treatment to your restorative dentist, if applicable. You will need to return to the endodontist’s office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of the treatment. You and your dentist can discuss which restorative option is best for you.
Saving your natural tooth is almost always the best option. Though dental implants are generally safe and reliable, they do not have as high of a success rate as a root canal treatment. This is because the natural teeth are already implanted into the jaw.