What is an "endodontist"?
Endodontists are dental specialists. They perform only endodontic procedures, such as root canal treatment but can also perform more complex procedures. They are experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain which is often difficult to diagnose.

Who performs endodontic treatment?
All dentists, including your general dentist, have received some training in endodontics during dental school. often, though, general dentists refer patients needing root canal treatment to endodontic specialists.

Why would you need endodontic treatment?
Sometimes the pulp inside your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures, a crack or chip, or trauma to the tooth.

What are the signs to look for indicating you might need endodontic treatment?
The signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling or tenderness in the nearby gums. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms. Problems in this case are discovered by a thorough dental exam.
Endodontic Facts

1. Endodontic treatment, often referred to as a root canal, is a common dental procedure that saves damaged teeth which avoids having to have the tooth extracted.

2. More than 14 million root canal procedures are performed every year in the United States.

3. Root canal treatment is necessary when the soft inner tissue of a tooth is diseased or damaged. The tissue is removed and the root canal is cleaned, filled and sealed with a sterile, biocompatible material.

4. Root canal treatment is successful approximately 95% of the time.

5. With properly performed root canal treatments, teeth can function normally for a lifetime. However, after a root canal it is essential that the patient return to his or her dentist or prosthodontist and have a crown or other restoration placed over the endodontically treated tooth to protect it.

6. Endodontic treatment is usually less expensive and time consuming than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant or removable partial denture.

7. New techniques in anesthesia make root canal treatment virtually painless for patients.

8. Patients who have been advised to have teeth extracted should ask if the teeth can be saved with endodontic treatment.

9. Endodontists are dentists who have two or more years of additional training in root canal procedures after completing dental school and limit their practices to endodontics, concentrating on root canal procedures.

10. Endodontists treat both routine and complex cases. They specialize in diagnosing and treating oral pain and in handling dental emergencies, such as toothaches and teeth that have been knocked out.

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