With every medical field, many professionals will choose areas of study they would like to specialize in. One of these specializations include endodontics, which is what we’ll be looking at today. If you’re getting a basic cleaning or examination done, you can go ahead and schedule an appointment with your dentist.
However, certain procedures like a root canal, are better suited for a specialist in endodontics. If you aren’t sure what this specialty is about, keep reading.
What is Endodontics?
The term endodontics refers specifically to the inside of teeth. This means focusing on the anatomy inside teeth, including the soft inner tissue known as pulp. It also refers to perfecting treatments that revolve around that aspect of tooth anatomy.
This dental pulp is crucial to care for because it’s responsible for many different functions. A few functions include:
- Containing the nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissue
- Providing vitality to each of your teeth
- Responding to external stimuli such as heat, cold, and pressure
Without pulp, your teeth’s anatomy would be largely exposed to the elements. Additionally, infections of the pulp can cause significant complications, so seeing an endodontist who’s more familiar than a dentist is worth it.
How Do They Differ from Dentists?
While any dentist can perform a root canal, endodontists are trained to save teeth by clearing infection and decay away from the interior of the tooth, rather than outright extracting a tooth entirely. They can also perform treatments designed to save teeth as a result of injury.
During a root canal, your endodontist will remove infected tissue and pulp inside the tooth, clean the chamber that holds pulp and tooth roots, and remove any leftover bacteria. Once the area is left to dry, they will fill the chamber and roots with gutta-percha, a special dental material typically used during root canals.
When Should I See an Endodontist Over a Dentist?
The main differences between endodontists and standard dentists is the variety of treatments they can perform. If you have pain in your teeth or a medical history of injury related to the tooth roots and pulp, an endodontist’s additional two years of education beyond dental school will prove beneficial. Here are just a few of the treatments they can provide:
- Dental Sensitivity – If you experience dental sensitivity, an endodontist can remove irritants accessing the nerve system of the tooth and prevent future irritants from appearing.
- Pulpotomy – More commonly used for kids who still have their baby teeth, this treatment is meant to be minimally invasive and remove decay that reached the inner part of their teeth. It works to save primary teeth so they can continue to be spacers until permanent teeth erupt.
- Endodontic Treatment – In some cases, retreatment is needed to remove pulp and nerve tissue and save damaged teeth. This usually occurs when a root canal was not fully cleaned out during a previous root canal procedure.
When you need special treatment, you need a specialist! Contact us to receive the best endodontic treatment today!
About the Author
Dr. Brian L. Eck Has been practicing dentistry for over 35 years. After earning his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, he became an active member of the San Antonio Dental Society, the Texas Dental Association, and the ADA. To learn more about his endodontic treatments, contact him at (210) 361-8905 or visit his website.