If you have a tooth that is diseased or injured, the problem may have affected the dental pulp. The pulp is in the center of the tooth and contains the root of the tooth. An endodontist provides treatment of the dental pulp.
Endodontic procedures include root canals. Our office will evaluate your teeth and if it is determined that treatments are necessary, we will refer you to a trusted professional endodontist for treatment.
If it is determined that you require a root canal, you should know some basic things about the anatomy of a tooth. The outside is the enamel and under that is a hard layer of dentin. Beneath these is the tooth pulp, a soft tissue that contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
When tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected, which can happen due to extensive decay, cracks or chips, or tooth trauma, a root canal may be necessary.
A brief overview of the procedure: A root canal involves removal of the pulp of the affected tooth. The inside of the tooth is cleaned out and cleared of infection. A flexible material called gutta percha fills and seals the canal that formerly held the pulp. A crown or filling is placed on top of the repaired tooth to complete the procedure and restore the tooth to its former function.
A root canal will restore function for chewing, biting, and appearance.
An endodontist is a dentist with further training in treatment of the tooth pulp. They can provide advanced dental surgical procedures. Some general dentists provide root canals, but refer patients with health problems, heart or bone illnesses, or simply because they feel a specialist is the best option for a case.
As with all decisions about dental health, the decision of whether to see an endodontist is one to discuss with your dental team. Discussing options with your dentist and hygienist are recommended. Ask for a full description of the recommended procedure and the reasons for a referral.
If you see an endodontist for consultation, ask for a full description of the procedure as well as answers to any questions you may have about what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. It is also advisable to contact your insurance company to make sure you understand your coverage.