Endodontists are dental specialists who focus on therapy for the nerve of the tooth. Typically this means that they are performing root canals, although they may also perform other dental surgery such as apicoectomy, root amputation and retrograde fills. To gain this special credential, endodontists go through atleast 2 years of additional training beyond dental school.
We here at RTC Dental have several general dentists that also perform root canals. One of our dentists (Dr. Mehrdad Ijadi) even has special advanced training in endodontics from his home country in Iran. If the case is beyond our capabilities then we refer the patient to a local endodontist specialty called “Greater Washington Endo” because we know their work is very excellent too. An endodontist specialty office will limit their practice to only endo procedures and they also provide special equipment such as pull down microscopes that are suspended from the ceiling and allow for maximum light and visualization of tough cases.
WHAT IS ENDODONTIC TREATMENT?
Endodontic treatment sometimes requires one or more visits. If the tooth is severely infected then two visits may be required. In most cases the tooth can be treated in a single visit. The dentist will use small files to clean the inside of the root without ever removing the tooth from its socket. The dentist simply makes a small hole to access the pulp chamber of the tooth and cleans all the canals with small hand held files. After the hand held files are used, the dentist also uses motorized rotary files. Those files are all very thin and tiny which allows them to sometimes fail which means they break off inside the tooth.
If the endo instrument breaks off inside the tooth then the tooth will likely get re-infected over time, and may require root amputation or extraction at some point. For this reason and many others, a root canal can sometimes fail over time. This will usually create the need for re-treatment which in itself is risky for instrument failure and perforation of the root. Our team is fully trained in the assessment of previously treated teeth and will advise you on how to rehabilitate the tooth.
IS ENDODONTIC TREATMENT PAINFUL?
Our team is skillful n the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental infections. We are also very skillful with numbing the patient and performing root canal in a comfortable manner. We will use all the best tricks to make it very tolerable. Equally as important is the amazingly high-tech equipment and instruments we provide for our dentists to use. Thus, if endodontic therapy is initiated then it will typically make the tooth comfortable again for many years to come.
Finally, root canal therapy is typically no more painful than the procedure for receiving a regular filling. However, it is important to schedule an appointment before swelling has occurred in the area of that tooth. This will make the entire procedure more comfortable for the patient. If the area is swollen then sometimes a round of antibiotics should be given first to reduce the swelling before numbing is attempted. Basically, the more inflamed the area is, the more difficult it is to numb.