Endodontists are dental specialists who have completed two additional years of advanced endodontic training and education beyond dental school. Endodontic training emphasizes root canal treatments and the diagnosis of diseases and conditions that warrant them. An endodontist does not practice general dentistry but instead devotes the majority of his or her time to performing root canals – specifically those pertaining to narrowed canals or anatomically atypical cases. Most endodontists have offices equipped with highly advanced technology, including 3D imaging devices and high powered microscopes.
That endodontists perform an estimated 5.7 million procedures every year? Of those, the American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 4.2 million are root canal treatments. Despite the majority of those being widely successful, there are still several myths surrounding root canal treatment. For example, root canal treatments do not cause pain as rumored; they relieve it. Similarly, extracting a diseased tooth is not a better alternative to root canal treatment, as keeping as much of your natural tooth as possible should be the treatment goal of you and your dentist.
Should I visit an endodontist?
You may need to visit an endodontist if you have decay that has reached the pulp of your tooth. Once bacteria reach the pulp, it can be extremely painful and will cause the tooth to begin to die. By seeking endodontic help, you can get relief for your pain and still preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible.
What should I expect during an endodontic treatment?
Your visit to the endodontist should not be intimidating. Instead, you can expect a comfortable office and knowledgeable staff members who assist patients everyday in relieving pain and treating diseased teeth. You can expect to be anesthetized for the duration of your treatment to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. The majority of endodontic treatments are highly successful. Though results vary from person to person, there is a good chance your root canal and restoration will last you a lifetime.
Will I need to follow any special instructions after the procedure?
Following your root canal, you will need to follow a set of post-operative instructions designed to make your recovery easier and successful. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for at least a half hour, and you may begin experiencing some slight discomfort near the site of the procedure in the first couple of days. Be sure to avoid biting or chewing hard and sticky foods, and schedule an appointment to return to your dentist for a permanent crown or filling within 30 days of your procedure.