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What Exactly Does an Endodontist Do?

April 20, 2021
a man smiling in a dental chair

For many patients, the first time they’ve heard the term “endodontist” was when they received a referral to our practice. Most people are familiar with what oral surgeons and orthodontists do, but endodontics is a lesser known dental specialty. In fact, the American Association of Endodontists estimates that fewer than three percent of American dentists are endodontists.

Specialists in Saving Teeth

General dentists offer a number of procedures, but their primary focus is treating the portion of the tooth that is above the gum line. Endodontics is a specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating problems inside the tooth. Like general dentists, endodontists complete dental school, but then they go on to receive two to three additional years of training and education centered around root canals, dental pulp, and dental pain.

Endodontists are known as specialists in saving teeth. Endodontic procedures like root canal treatment allow us to preserve teeth even after they have suffered deep decay, dental trauma, or severe damage. The alternative to endodontic treatment is tooth extraction, which can compromise your oral health, particularly if you choose not to restore your tooth.

Diagnosing Tooth Pain

In many cases, the cause of a severe toothache is obvious and easily diagnosed. Other times, your general dentist may not be able to determine the underlying cause of your dental pain and refer you to North Shore & Brookline Endodontics to receive a diagnosis and treatment.

A microscopic fracture or crack is not always apparent upon visual examination. At NSBENDO, we have advanced technology and surgical microscopes that allow us to identify the origin of your dental pain. Once the tooth that is causing your pain is located, it can be treated.

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is the most common reason for patients to receive a referral to an endodontic practice. While some general dentists perform root canal treatments, the average dentist performs just two root canals per week, while the average endodontist performs 25. Because endodontists perform root canal treatments so frequently, they have the skill, experience, and knowledge to treat complex cases and provide successful endodontic retreatment when a patient who has already had a root canal experiences reinfection or requires additional treatment.

Root canals allow you to save a tooth that has inflamed or infected pulp tissue. Despite their reputation, root canal treatments are much more comfortable than most patients expect. When a root canal is required to treat dental pain, patients usually leave our office feeling better than when they arrived.

Endodontists also perform a procedure called endodontic surgery (also known as apical surgery or apicoectomy). During this surgery, an infected root tip (apex) is removed, along with the surrounding tissue. Endodontic surgery is used when a tooth has not responded to a root canal treatment or retreatment. In some circumstances, endodontic surgery may be recommended for patients who are not candidates for a root canal procedure.

Learn More About What Endodontists Do

If you have questions about what endodontists do and how we can improve your dental health, contact us today to schedule an appointment at one of our six North Shore and Boston-area locations.

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