Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is an endodontist?
A: Endodontics (from the Greek endo “inside”; and odons “tooth”) is the dental specialty concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. An endodontist is a dental surgeon that performs a variety of procedures including endodontic therapy (commonly known as “root canal therapy”), endodontic retreatment, surgery, treating cracked teeth, and treating dental trauma.

Q: How is an endodontist different from my general dentist?
A: All dentists, including your general dentist, received training in endodontic treatment and dental implants in dental school. General dentists can perform these procedures, but often they refer patients with diseased teeth to endodontists for evaluation and treatment. Not only do endodontists attend dental school for four years, but they have an additional 2-3 years of training in their specialty. Endodontists handle a variety of endodontic procedures, but the majority of their work revolves around root canal therapy.

Endodontic treatment is a very detailed procedure. Whether you need an endodontist depends on the complexity of your endodontic procedure. Your general dentist may refer you to an endodontist if his or her practice doesn’t offer endodontic services, your case is beyond their expertise or endodontic retreatment or surgery is recommended. The endodontist is a valuable partner on your general dentist’s team of trusted caregivers, and is no different than medical specialists who provide expert advice for heart, bone or other health problems. Endodontists are uniquely qualified to evaluate whether your tooth can be saved, and which option is best for you.

Endodontists put patients at ease.

Watch this video to learn about why our most important goal is a positive patient experience:

Q: How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
A: To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know about the anatomy of the
tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the
dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels,
nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during
development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp
because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Modern root canal treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.

Q: What are the advantages in getting endodontic treatment?
A: Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

-Efficient chewing
-Normal biting force and sensation
-Natural appearance
-Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain

Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.