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What is Endodontics?
What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in preserving teeth through endodontic therapy procedures. These procedures involve the soft inner tissue of the teeth called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.


All dentists, including your general dentist, receive training in endodontic treatment in dental school.  Some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  For this reason, you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.


In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. Endodontists study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases.


What Happens During Endodontic Treatment? or What is a Root Canal?

A local anesthetic will be given.  A sheet of latex called a "rubber dam" (we have non-latex dams as well) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, keeping the tooth 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.


During your root canal, Dr. Yeung removes inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the tooth, and then fills and seals the space. After root canal therapy, you will return to your dentist. Your dentist will complete the final restoration of your tooth.


There are, of course, no guarantees.  Endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success, up to 90%.  If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful, other options will be discussed.


Diagnoses and Treats Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches or cracked / fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth is often felt in another tooth and/or in the head, neck, or ear. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.


Treats Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by an injury to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating this type of trauma. For example, damage to a child's underdeveloped permanent tooth can cause the root to stop growing. A procedure called apexification stimulates bone deposits at the end of the root, which then makes it possible to save the tooth through a root canal procedure. An endodontist is specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.



Occasionally, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but later becomes painful or diseased. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be preserved with a second endodontic treatment called a retreatment.


Endodontic Surgery

Surgery may be necessary to save your tooth in a variety of situations. Surgery may be used in diagnosis of small fractures or additional untreated canals. Sometimes calcium deposits make a canal too narrow for the cleaning and shaping instruments used in nonsurgical root canal treatment. In cases like these, endodontic surgery may be needed in order to clean and seal the remainder of the canal. Failed healing from previous procedures may also warrant endodontic surgery.