What is an Endodontist?
Endodontists are dentists that have specialized training that makes them experts in dealing with pain in the teeth.
What is an Endodontist?
All About Endodontics, Endodontists & Root Canals
Essentially, they specialize in dealing with tooth discomfort, disease, and infection of the teeth. They have extra training that allows them to perform root canal therapy, or root canals, which is a unique procedure that can save teeth that have decay or may be infected.
What Exactly Does an Endodontist Do?
Endodontists deal with problems inside of the tooth, in particular the part of the tooth known as the “tooth pulp.” This inner part of the tooth is rich in blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. Sometimes the pulp can become infected, swollen, or inflamed because of a deep dental cavity, injury to a tooth, or repeated dental work on a tooth. The result is a pain when biting down, sensitivity to cold or hot foods or liquids, or just pain in general. When this occurs, it is time to make an appointment with an endodontist.
Endodontists perform a specialized procedure known as a root canal or root canal therapy. During a root canal treatment an endodontist carefully removes the tooth’s nerve and tooth pulp that has become damaged or infected. Then they cleanse the internal structures of the tooth and seal the roots with a special material to help prevent reinfection. If left alone, the pulp will become more inflamed and cause more pain, and eventually, the tooth will become non-vital and die.
General dentists are also able to perform root canals, but an endodontist has a lot more experience doing them. Endodontists also have specialized equipment and technology that allows them to better visualize the structures inside the tooth.
Education and Training of an Endodontist
Endodontists are essentially dentists who have received two or three years of additional training beyond dental school. As a result, they also receive a specialized Master of Science in Dentistry degree in addition to the Doctorate degree. During their specialty training, endodontic students specialize in diagnosing and treating tooth pain.
The whole education process involves completing:
• Four years of dental school
• Two to three years in a post-graduate residency program
• An exam to become certified by the American Board of Endodontics (optional)
What Are Some Reasons to See an Endodontist
There are several reasons why your general dentist may refer you to an endodontist:
• Tooth pain
• Tooth sensitivity to heat and or cold
• Dental infection. The pulp of a tooth can become infected. Bacteria can get in through small openings or cracks created by tooth decay, injury, or even dental procedures. The result is inflammation or infection of the dental pulp. This is the most common reason for referral to an endodontist.
• Injury to the tooth. If your tooth gets knocked out or loosened from its socket, an endodontist can re-implant the tooth and stabilize it. Endodontists can often perform a root canal at the same time or at a later time to prevent the tooth from being lost permanently.
• Broken or chipped tooth. If a large section of a tooth is missing, exposing the pulp to bacteria You may need a root canal.
What’s the difference between a dentist and an endodontist?
The truth is that all endodontists are dentists, however, only 2-3% of dentists are endodontists. Endodontists are specialists because they’ve completed an additional two or more years of training beyond dental school. The additional training that they receive focuses on specializing on diagnosing pain and performing root canal treatment and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. This is why endodontists pride themselves in being the specialists that save teeth.