An endodontist is a specialist in the dental field who has specific training in the diagnosis and treatment of more intense problems in your mouth. An endodontist can do more for the care of your mouth than your regular dentist. Treatment of decayed teeth, finding the cause of facial pain, performing endodontic treatments, root canals, retreatment of root canals and endodontic surgery are all services an endodontist can perform to help you with your dental care.
A root canal is the process of removing the dental pulp from an abscessed tooth that is either dead, or the pulp has been exposed because of decay in the tooth or a fracture. Once the pulp has been removed, the endodontist will treat any remnant of infection left in the body of the tooth. The nerve of the tooth will also be removed, as leaving it can cause a phantom pain the tooth so that you will think you still have an infection. The hollow area is filled with a rubber-like material. Before the creation of this process, a damaged tooth had to be removed.
Even though you have had a root canal, if you still don’t take care of your teeth or the tooth does not heal correctly, you may have to see the endodontist to have the tooth retreated. In the retreatment process, your tooth will go through the same process as in the initial treatment. You will receive a new crown from your dentist as well.
What may cause you to have a retreatment? There may be narrow offshoots of the root that were missed in the initial treatment. This may also be due to a complicated root anatomy that was not seen. Your saliva, which is usually a good and natural way to keep your mouth clean, may have gotten under the crown and caused additional decay. It may have taken too long for a crown to be placed over the treated tooth. A new infection may have set into the root due to new decay exposing the root system. A broken or cracked crown could also have exposed the tooth to new decay. And last, however not the very last thing, somehow your tooth may have fractured within the crown, compromising the integrity of the treatment.
If a root canal and then retreatment do not resolve the issue you have with your tooth, the endodontist may recommend an apicoectomy, which is an endodontic surgical procedure. This procedure involves surgically opening the gum near the tooth, at the base of the root. This allows the endodontist to examine the bone and remove any infected or inflamed tissue. The tip of the root will be removed and once the infection has been cleaned out, a filling will be placed over the root to keep it sealed. You will have stitches, and over time bone will grow around the end of the root. This procedure is usually a last resort, and you may find that you are referred to an oral surgeon for the procedure. This referral is done for your safety and is a reflection that your dentist and endodontist know their limitations.
Your referral to an endodontist is being done because your dentist feels it would be most beneficial for you and they are interested in maintaining your oral health. The special skills that the endodontist has will make the treatment of your oral needs easier for him to perform than for your regular dentist. It is important to be treated by the appropriate medical professional so that there is no additional damage done to your oral health and your recovery can begin immediately, with the appropriate medication and pain control.