The technical definition of an Endodontist is a dentist that has completed dental school and then taken two more years of specialty training to treat tooth roots and the pulp of teeth. The pulp of a tooth contains nerves, the root and lymphatic tissues and when this area becomes diseased or injured, and Endodontist treats that problem.
A general dentist does receive some training in treating the pulp of a tooth. The Endodontist, however, goes through another two or three years of training to specialize in this area. If there is a problem with the root or pulp of a tooth you are most likely much better off seeing the specialist. The additional years of training gives them a much better education concerning problems of this type and since this is their specialty they see every type of problem andhave years of experience in treatments.
Pain is often what drives a person to see a dentist. However, not all endodontic problems are accompanied by pain. Some problems have not yet reached the stage where pain has developed. This is a good reason to see a dentist on a regular basis. Prevention is important, but it is also very important to catch a problem early. Some untreated problems develop into infections and this can greatly increase not only the pain factor, but also the length of time it will take to treat the problem. Infected teeth can’t be worked on until the infection is cleared up.
The Endodontist’s primary objective is to save the original tooth rather than have to resort to tooth extraction. One primary way to do this is to perform a root canal procedure on the tooth. This means that the tooth is hollowed out and all the pulp and the nerves will be removed. The hole is then filled with a rubber-like substance. Teeth that are fully developed do not need their pulp. After the root canal is completed, a crown will be put on the tooth for long-term protection.
The Endodontist will also treat cracked or chipped teeth. A blow to the mouth, for instance, can damage tooth pulp. If this happens to a child, the tooth will stop growing. Endodontists have a procedure to stimulate bone growth in a damaged tooth like this. They can also put back a tooth that has been knocked out in certain situations.
These specialists can also diagnose and treat pain. There are situations where tooth pain can actually radiate to the neck, arm and ear. If there is a chance that this type of pain is actually being caused by a tooth, the Endodontist can find the source and treat it.