Let’s look at some endodontic facts about root canals:
- Endodontists perform more than 40,000 root canals every day (that’s 40,000 teeth that we save every day)
- More than 50% of people who need root canals prefer to entrust their teeth to an endodontic specialist
- Most dental patients have the same fear – losing their teeth, and we are in the business of saving teeth
- Endodontists are respected amongst the oral health community as the “go to” for root canals
- We do more than 10 times more root canals than general dentists, so we are really good at them
Want to know more? Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about Endodontics.
What are Endodontists?
An endodontist is a dental practitioner specializing in teeth maintenance through endodontic therapy. The procedure involves the treatment of the pulp, which is the softer inner tissue of the teeth. While all dentists are trained in endodontic treatment and diagnosis, some teeth and gum diseases can be challenging to diagnose and treat. That’s probably the reason a general dental practitioner referred you to a specialist in endodontic therapy.
Upon graduating from dental school, an endodontist has to enroll for an advanced course in endodontic therapy. Aspiring endodontists will study root canal procedures and techniques in depth to aid in treating and diagnosing complicated cases. That’s why general dental practitioners often refer to patients with complicated dental issues to a specialist in endodontic therapy.
What is a Root Canal?
A specialist in endodontic therapy will first put a patient under anesthesia and then place a sheet of latex around the tooth to isolate it and keep it dry and clean during the treatment. The endodontic treatment takes four steps, but the number of appointments depends on the situation. Most cases require a single visit while some can take two or three sessions. In any case, visits depend on the degree of treatment difficulty and degree of inflammation or infection. The success rate of endodontic therapy or root canal can be as high as 90%. However, patients may first have to discuss their success rate with their endodontists before undergoing the procedure. You still have options in case endodontic therapy or root canal fails.
What’s Involved With The Procedure?
Endodontic therapy takes three steps and can take a maximum of three sessions to complete.
1. The Root Canal Treatment. Firstly, the endodontist removes any residue that is inside the root canal. However, the patient must be under anesthesia before the dental specialist makes an access hole on the root surface and uses small files to remove the dead and diseased pulp tissue.
2. Filling the Root Canal. Next, the dental practitioner uses irrigation solutions and tiny files to shape, clean, and decontaminate the hollow area. Then the endodontic specialist will use a rubber-like material to fill the tooth and an adhesive cement to seal the root canal. Your tooth will probably be dead after root canal therapy. The procedure eliminates any infection and removes the nerve tissue to get rid of any pain on a cracked or fractured tooth.
3. Filling or Adding a Crown to the Tooth. The root canal procedure will leave a diseased or damaged tooth more fragile than it was. The ligament that attaches the bone to the teeth is responsible for nourishing any tooth with no pulp. While that nourishment is adequate, the tooth will over time be more brittle, but filling or crowning it can protect it. Crowning or filling a tooth takes only one appointment, but one or two additional visits may be necessary for a tooth with infections, multi-canals, or curved canals.
How Is It Treated?
Pinpointing fractured or cracked teeth or oral pains such as toothache has always been difficult. The pain of a diseased or fractured tooth is likely to be felt in the head or another tooth due to the vastness of the nerves network in the mouth. Fortunately, endodontic therapists are specialists in diagnosing and treating any teeth-related pain.
What About Traumatic Injuries?
A blow to the mouth can sometimes cause pulp damages, but endodontic therapists specialize in treating any of these injuries. A blow to the permanent tooth of a child, for example, can stop the growth of the root. However, endodontic therapists are trained in apexification, a procedure that stimulates depositing of bones at the of the base of the tooth to not only promote teeth growth but also save a fractured or cracked tooth through endodontic therapy or root canal procedure. These specialists are highly trained and experienced in replanting any tooth that came out of its socket due to a blow to the mouth.
Experts recommend regular visits to an endodontic practice for a checkup once the root canal procedure is complete. It can take 6 to 12 months for the root canal procedure to complete. That period allows the endodontic to monitor your progress to make sure that the fractured or cracked tooth heals appropriately and as quickly as possible. An abscess can take up to two years to heal, and that’s why an endodontist may schedule a two-year appointment for the reevaluation of the damaged or diseased tooth.
How Painful is the Endodontic Procedure?
One of the fears about the root canal procedure is that it is painful. However, any procedure done by a trained and experienced endodontist should be relatively painless. Instead, the pain should be as a result of infection and not treatment. The root canal procedure doesn’t cause any pain but instead helps alleviate it.