Endodontists focus on endodontics or issues concerning the roots of the teeth. While general dentists can perform the procedures and treatments offered by specialists, endodontists have received additional training. They have decided to focus their practice on treating the inside of the teeth.
The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) sums up the profession neatly, stating that endodontists are the tooth-saving specialists of dentistry. According to the American Dental Association, endodontists specialize in both conventional root canals and more involved tooth-saving treatments, such as surgery involving the dental pulp. While the need for these treatments can make patients feel nervous or anxious, this group of specialists focuses on pain management techniques and procedures that allow them to save the tooth with as little pain as possible.
What is endodontics dentistry?
What does an endodontist do? Often, the goal in endodontics is to save the tooth. An endodontist clears the infection and decay to protect the interior of the tooth from further damage instead of simply pulling a diseased or damaged tooth. Here's an overview of the types of treatment an endodontist performs, and what to expect from certain procedures offered in an endodontist's office.
In a typical root canal treatment, an endodontist removes the pulp inside the tooth, cleans and shapes the root canal, seals the area with a dental material and finishes the treatment with a crown, according to the AAE.
A pulpotomy is a similar procedure, more commonly done on primary teeth, to remove the inflamed coronal pulp from the pulp chamber and seal the remaining tooth. While a root canal involves removing all the pulp from the chamber and surrounding root system, a pulpotomy is less extensive and doesn't include the pulp in the root area.
Retreatment may be needed when a patient experiences tooth trauma, such as a cracked or loose tooth, decay reaching the pulp or when smaller or curved canals are overlooked in an initial tooth treatment. You may also need one if the dental problem wasn't properly fixed the first time, reports the AAE.
The AAE explains that an endodontist will sometimes perform a microsurgical procedure called an apicoectomy to open up the gum tissue surrounding a tooth if an infection exists around the bony area of the tooth root. This procedure will remove the end of the tooth and place a filling to seal the tooth.