What is an endodontist?
Endodontists are essentially dentists who specialise in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapies and treatments. Endodontics concerns the inner soft part of the tooth which is called the pulp. ‘Endo’ means inside, hence endodontics is concerning the inside of the tooth. All qualified dentists are trained and aware of endodontics, however, if your case is extremely specific and hard to treat, you may be referred to an endodontist. Endodontists are different in the way that they study several further years specializing in this particular form of dentistry. Essentially they study such procedures like root canals in greater depth, which means they may be able to diagnose more complex cases to a higher degree than standard dentists.
What is an example of endodontic treatment?
A root canal is often used as the primary example. All procedures are first discussed in an initial consultation with your professional and the best form of treatment is selected. Root canals are nearly always successful, and if this is not the case, other options are always available. As is the same with any medical procedure, first the area will be cleaned and then the patient will be given an anaesthetic. It is hard to label this treatment with a particular time period, as each patient’s individual case varies greatly. Some treatments may require several visits, and some may just need one. The greater the complexity of the case, the longer the treatment period.
Sometimes it can be challenging to diagnose this particular type of treatment. The mouth contains an advanced nerve system, making the pain hard to pinpoint. For example, a fracture to one tooth may be felt in other areas of the body such as the neck or even the jaw. The inflamed pulp is at the centre of the tooth, endodontists are specially trained in diagnosing these particular cases.
What actually causes pulp damage?
Damage to the pulp is usually caused by an accident which causes trauma to the tooth. A child may suffer from a blow to the mouth during an accident. Children’s teeth are more complicated to treat as they are not fully developed, damage to a pulp that is not fully developed can hinder the root to grow. Endodontists are specifically trained in procedures for teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets in this way.
Will it need to be done again later in life?
Although it is very rare, with some cases the mouth may reject the root canal procedure, there may be a level of discomfort or pain several months or even years later. If this is the case, then the surgery can simply be redone. It is recommended that you revisit the endodontist every 6 months after your treatment has been completed, as sometimes it can take up to two years to heal, and it is important to track the progress.
What if I feel nervous about receiving this treatment?
Patients can experience anxiety surrounding dental environments for several reasons, they may have experienced trauma as a child which has created a negative stigma around the dentist, or they may simply have an irrational fear. Dental professionals are aware of patient nerves and will accommodate this, initial consultations and anaesthesia can be undergone to ease any nerves.