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What Does an Endodontist Do?

Endodontists make for a small fraction of the dentist profession, and they primarily focus on treating dental pulp (interior of the tooth) concerns. Thanks to their specialized education, they use advanced methods and tools to not only diagnose but also care for these conditions. Their goal is to save your natural tooth whenever possible. Root canals are the procedure commonly associated with endodontics, but endodontists can treat a variety of issues caused by inflammation and/or infection of the tooth pulp. While general dentists can perform root canals too, endodontists usually perform a significantly higher number on a regular basis.

Endodontist Training

Endodontics requires 2 to 3 years of additional education following completion of dental school (4 years). This specialization focuses on studying dental pulp conditions and appropriate treatments. Endodontists learn how to determine the causes of difficult-to-diagnose oral pain. They can also choose to take the exam to get certified by the American Board of Endodontics.

Another central part of endodontist training is thorough pain management, especially when it comes to numbing techniques. They are especially skilled in handling patients who struggle with staying numbed for dental procedures or during recovery.

Endodontists are also trained to use advanced technology to safely treat their patients, such as digital radiography and 3D imaging, and dental operating microscopes.

Common Endodontic Procedures

The tooth pulp is what dentists call the inside of the tooth, which is comprised of nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues. Your tooth pulp can become inflamed or infected, and dentists refer to this condition as pulpitis. It often causes mild to severe toothache, and if left untreated, pulpitis can lead to significant health problems and require urgent medical care.

Causes of pulpitis include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth abscess
  • Tooth injury due to trauma
  • Cracked tooth

Besides root canals, endodontists can perform the following dental procedures:

  • Endodontic retreatment (fixing a previous root canal that didn’t heal properly)
  • Endodontic surgery (such as the partial removal of a tooth root)
  • Emergency dental surgery
  • Tooth extraction
  • Dental implant surgery

Root Canals

Root canals are the dental procedures endodontists perform the most. They use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth, so you won’t feel pain during the surgery. They then remove the infected part of the tooth root, and clean and reshape the root pathway from the pulp to your jawbone as necessary. They may apply topical medicine to stop the infection and prevent it from returning. Afterward, they fill the tooth opening with a temporary filling or crown, which they will replace with a permanent one during your follow-up appointment.

Access Dental addresses a wide range of dental concerns to restore and maintain your oral health. Call us today at (973) 358-6266 or reach us via our online form to schedule an appointment.