Endodontic is derived from the Greek word endo meaning “inside”. An endodontist is a specialist who carries out root canal therapy on teeth. They have up to an additional 3 years of training following their 5-year undergraduate dental training. An endodontist is trained in the most advanced technologies currently available that enables patients to keep their natural teeth longer.
The treatment provided by an endodontist ranges from routine root canal therapy to the more difficult challenging cases such as traumatised mature and immature teeth and teeth with complex anatomical shapes and structures. They also carry out surgery and re-treatments of teeth that have failed to heal.
Inside a tooth, there is vital nerve tissue and blood vessels. Dental disease or trauma can damage these tissues causing inflammation and pain which can later develop into a dental abscess. Root canal treatment is required when these tissues are damaged beyond repair.
Dental pain does not always indicate the need for root canal treatment. Some dental pain can come from the gums or the jaws. An endodontist will use their expertise to assess and diagnose dental pain correctly. They use advanced equipment to carry out specialised tests and radiographs to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment options.
When root canal treatment is indicated the objective for the endodontist is to clean shape and fill the canal with a material that will seal it effectively and prevent re-infection.
The benefits of root canal treatment mean that previously painful and diseased teeth can be rescued from being extracted. Once a root treated tooth is successfully healed then it can be restored with a permanent filling or more usually with a dental crown. This will allow the tooth to function for many more years. If the tooth was not root treated and the abscess continued to grow then irreversible damage could occur to the surrounding bone and tissues. This may prevent future treatment in this area.