Chances are, if you’ve maintained relatively good oral health, you may not know what an endodontist does. After all, you only need an endodontist if you’ve developed a severe infection in a tooth, severe decay in a tooth, or have suffered from dental trauma. Endodontists specialize in treating all of these conditions and focus their practice on saving natural teeth wherever possible. All endodontists are dentists, who pursued additional education and specialized training to treat complex problems involving the interior (pulp) of the teeth.
Procedures Performed by Endodontists
Procedures that endodontists perform include root canal therapy, traumatic dental injuries, apical surgery, endodontic retreatment, pulpotomy, treatment for cracked teeth, regenerative endodontics, and internal bleaching.
Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is necessary if a tooth becomes severely decayed or infected. During this procedure, an endodontist removes the pulp chamber from the tooth. Then they clean, disinfect, and reshape the canals before sealing the tooth so that a crown can be placed.
Treatment for Dental Trauma
Endodontists treat teeth that have experienced traumatic injuries, such as cracked teeth, knocked-out teeth, or teeth otherwise harmed in a sports injury, car accident, or a fall. Treatment for dental trauma may include root canal therapy, splinting, medications, or a combination of several treatments.
Apical Surgery (Endodontic Surgery)
The very tip of the tooth root (apex) can become inflamed or infected, requiring removal. This is known as apical surgery, endodontic surgery, or apicoectomy. During this surgery, the apex is removed, and the end of the root canal is sealed and sutures placed.
Pulpotomy (Baby Root Canal)
If the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, a pulpectomy can successfully treat the infection while saving the tooth. Endodontists often perform this treatment on baby teeth in children, so it is sometimes referred to as a baby root canal. The procedure involves removing the pulp and applying a medicated dressing to stop the spread of infection, before sealing off the pulp chamber.
Occasionally a tooth fails to heal properly, following a root canal. In other cases, a tooth that was treated months or even years earlier with a root canal can develop new problems, requiring endodontic retreatment. Endodontists may perform retreatment if there is still the likelihood that the tooth can be saved.
Treatment for Cracked Teeth
It is the goal of your endodontist to save natural teeth whenever possible. This means that certain types of cracks in teeth may be diagnosed and treated by endodontists to preserve the tooth. Endodontists use specialized diagnostic tools which can show tiny cracks that may not be found by a general dentist.
Damaged teeth may occasionally darken or become discolored. This discoloration is often due to unhealthy pulp tissue in the tooth. Internal bleaching can be performed by an endodontist to white the tooth from the inside, after root canal therapy.
Regenerative endodontics is an innovative, biologically based approach to restoring damaged root canals to a healthy state. Using biologically-based tissue to regenerate healthy pulp cells and root structures, this exciting advancement is a form of regenerative therapy, much like stem-cell therapy.
Endodontic Treatment in Reston, VA
If you require endodontic treatment, contact Reston Endodontics today at 703-399-2333. Dr. Matthew Detar and Dr. Preeti Batra are experienced, skillful endodontists providing patients of all ages with the latest endodontic treatments and minimally invasive technologies.