Endodontics (from the Greek roots endo- “inside” and odont- “tooth”) is the dental specialty concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. Endodontists perform a variety of procedures including endodontic therapy (commonly known as “root canal therapy”), endodontic re-treatment, surgery, treating cracked teeth, and treating dental trauma. Root canal therapy is one of the most common procedures. If the dental pulp (containing nerves, arterioles, venules, lymphatic tissue, and fibrous tissue) becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth.
Why are endodontists called specialists?
While all endodontists are dentists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists. Just like a doctor in any other field, endodontists are specialists because they’ve completed an additional two or more years of training beyond dental school. Their additional training focuses on diagnosing tooth pain and performing root canal treatment and other procedures relating to the interior of the tooth. In many cases, a diseased tooth can be saved with endodontic treatment. For this reason, endodontists proudly refer to themselves as Specialists in Saving Teeth.
A root canal is a dental treatment done under local anesthesia to remove a damaged nerve while saving the tooth. The procedure is done under a sheet of latex called the “rubber dam” (we’ve got non-latex ones too) placed around the tooth to isolate it, hence keeping it clean and dry during treatment. The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of visits will depend on your particular case. Some treatments take 2 visits but many are just a single visit. Occasionally 3 appointments are needed. It all depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty.
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