What is an endodontist?
What is a root canal?
What is re-treatment?
What is an apicoectomy or endodontic
What is the emergency treatment
for saving a knocked out tooth?
Why is my dentist referring
me to a specialist?
Myths about root canals.
insurance pays for this right?
is an “endodontist”?
endodontist is a dentist with special training in diagnosing
and treating problems associated with the inside of
the tooth. They do only endodontic procedures in their
practices because they are specialists. To become specialists,
they complete dental school and an additional two or
more years of advanced training in endodontics, one
of the nine specialties recognized by the American Dental
Association. They perform routine as well as difficult
and very complex endodontic procedures, including retreatment
of previous root canals that have not healed completely,
as well as endodontic surgery. Endodontists are also
experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial
pain that has been difficult to diagnose.
is a root canal?
procedure used to save an abscessed tooth by removing
the dental pulp (nerve) after the tooth is dead or has
had the pulp exposed due to cavities or fractures. After
the pulp is removed and any infection has been resolved,
the hollow area left behind after the nerve is removed
is filled in with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
Before the days of root canals, most damaged teeth needed
to be replaced.
proper care, most teeth that have had root canal (endodontic)
treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. In
some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic
treatment fails to heal. Occasionally, the tooth becomes
painful or diseased months or even years after successful
treatment. If your tooth has not healed or has developed
new problems, you have a second chance. Another procedure,
endodontic retreatment, may be able to save your tooth.
As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure,
a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment
for a variety of reasons:
or curved canals were not treated during the initial
canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
placement of the crown or other restoration was
delayed following the endodontic treatment.
restoration did not prevent salivary contamination
to the inside of the tooth.
other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth
that was successfully treated. For example:
decay can expose the root canal filling material
to bacteria, causing a new infection in the tooth.
loose, cracked or broken crown or filling can
expose the tooth to new infection.
tooth sustains a fracture.
is an apicoectomy or endodontic surgery?
of the very end of the root is called apicoectomy. In
this procedure, the endodontist opens the gingival tissue
near the tooth to examine the underlying bone and to
remove any inflamed or infected tissue.
small filling may be placed in the root to seal the
end of the root canal, and a few stitches or sutures
are placed in the gingiva to help the tissue heal properly.
a period of months, the bone heals around the end of
is the emergency treatment for saving a knocked out
than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year. Both
adults and children are at risk. With proper emergency
action, a tooth that has been entirely knocked out of
its socket often can be successfully replanted and last
for years. Because of this, it is important to be prepared
and know what to do if this happens to you or someone
with you. The key is to act quickly, yet calmly, and
follow these simple steps. When you click on each step
in the diagram below, a description of the action necessary
will appear in the bottom left-hand corner.
is my dentist referring me to a specialist?
dentists, your dentist included, received training in
endodontic (root canal) treatment during dental school
along with learning all of the other dental procedures.
Often they refer patients to a specialist because they
believe it is in the patients best interest, due to
the difficulty of the treatment, to have a specialist
perform the treatment. Endodontist also graduated from
dental school, and then completed at least two more
years of advanced education in endodontics. They perform
routine root canals, as well as more difficult treatment
such as re-treatment, apicoectomies and treating traumatic
injuries. Endodontic specialist often are consulted
to try to find the cause of the pain and to determine
if it is originating from a tooth, and if so, which
tooth is the culprit.
about root canals
#1 - Root canal treatment is painful.
Myth #2—Root canal treatment
Myth #3—A good alternative to
root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).
canal treatment is painful.
canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it.
patients see their dentist or endodontist when they
have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused
by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment
removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby
relieving the pain you feel. (For more about root
canal procedures, see FAQs About Root Canal Treatment.)
perception of root canals being painful began decades
ago when root canal treatment was painful. But with
the latest technologies and anesthetics, root canal
treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having
a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed
that patients who have experienced root canal treatment
are six times more likely to describe it as "painless"
than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
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#2—Root canal treatment causes illness.
canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure.
studies performed in the 1930s and 1940s and those
conducted in later years showed no relationship between
the presence of endodontically treated teeth and the
presence of illness. Instead, researchers found that
people with root canal fillings were no more likely
to be ill than people without them.1,2
the past several years, however, a very small number
of dentists and physicians have been claiming that
teeth that have received root canal (endodontic) treatment
contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease
in the body. This claim is based on the outdated research
performed by Dr. Weston Price from 1910-1930. His
research stated that bacteria trapped in the teeth
during root canal treatment can cause almost any type
of disease, including arthritis, heart disease, kidney
disease, and others.
presence of bacteria in teeth and mouth has been an
accepted fact for many years. But presence of bacteria
does not constitute "infection" and is not
necessarily a threat to a person's health.3 Bacteria
are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even
in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma.
recent attempts to copy the research of Dr. Price
(and to check its accuracy) have been unsuccessful.
Researchers now believe that the earlier findings
may have been caused by poor sanitation and imprecise
research techniques that were common in the early
more recent studies support the truth we report today—that
teeth that receive proper endodontic treatment do
not cause illness.
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#3—A good alternative to root canal treatment
is extraction (pulling the tooth).
your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best
can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial
tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods.
Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can
continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary
to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet.
treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is
a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp
and is usually less expensive than extraction and
placement of a bridge or an implant.
treatment also has a very high success rate. Many
root canal treated teeth last a lifetime.
of a bridge or an implant will require significanly
more time in treatment and may result in further procedures
to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients
all over the world, years and years after treatment.
Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently,
maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and
enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic
treatment, endodontists and dentists worldwide enable
patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.
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6287 Redwood Road | Suite 203 | Taylorsville, UT 84123
PH: 801.266.7393 FX: 801.266.0212
Copyright 2006 Redwood Endodontics. All Rights Reserved