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What Is Endodontics?

October 15, 2021
a man holds his jaw

Endodontics is one of several dental specializations. Just like an orthodontist, oral surgeon, or periodontist, endodontists graduate from an accredited dental school, then go on to receive two or more additional years of training and education. Here’s what you need to know about the field of endodontics.

The Specialists in Saving Teeth

Endodontists are regarded as the experts when it comes to saving teeth. They have advanced training in root canal treatment, diagnosing dental pain, and other dental issues and procedures that involve the interior of the tooth. In fact, the term endodontics comes from the Greek words “endo” and “odont,” which means inside the tooth.

Endodontists are most well-known for providing endodontic treatment, which is more commonly known as root canal treatment. (Although it is colloquially referred to as a root canal, this term actually describes part of the tooth’s anatomy, not the treatment performed on it.) The treatments endodontists provide help patients avoid having to have their teeth extracted and replaced with a bridge, dental implant, or denture.

Reasons to See an Endodontist

If you are experiencing dental pain or infection, or have suffered from dental trauma that has caused cracks, fractures, or an avulsed tooth, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. While some dentists perform root canal treatment, endodontists are the experts, as they complete many more procedures since endodontics is their specialty. Endodontists also have advanced technology in their offices that allows them to better diagnose and treat dental pain and trauma. 

Endodontists perform the following treatments:

Endodontic Treatment

When the pulp inside a tooth is inflamed or infected, a root canal can save the tooth by removing the pulp, cleaning and shaping the root canal, and filling and sealing the space. Removing the compromised pulp alleviates any discomfort a patient is experiencing and allows them to preserve their natural tooth, often for a lifetime. 

Endodontic Retreatment

As its name suggests, endodontic retreatment involves treating a tooth that has already had one or more previous root canal treatments. Retreatment may be needed if there is new infection or if there are additional canals that were not treated during the initial endodontic treatment. 

Endodontic Surgery

Endodontic surgery may be needed for a few different reasons. Your endodontist may need to remove calcium deposits in the canals, treat damaged root surfaces or bone, identify small fractures or hidden canals, or perform an apicoectomy, which is required when the bony area around the end of the tooth is still inflamed or infected after a root canal treatment.

The Bottom Line

Prompt endodontic treatment allows you to maintain your natural smile, continue eating all your favorite foods, and avoid the need for ongoing dental work related to bridges, dentures, or dental implants. Today’s root canal treatments are comfortable and highly effective, so there’s no reason not to choose endodontic treatment over having your tooth extracted.

Schedule an Appointment

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation with one of our endodontists at one of our six North Shore and Boston-area locations.

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