AboutEndodontics

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What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy -- procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to four years of dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

AboutEndodontics

patientcarewithmicroscope (1)
What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy -- procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to four years of dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

What Happens During Endodontic Treatment? or What is a Root Canal?

root canal treatment
 
A local anesthetic will be given.  A sheet of latex called the "rubber dam" (we've got nonlatex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, hence keeping it clean and dry during treatment.  The treatment consists of accessing the pulpal space, cleansing the canal system of all diseased tissues, shaping the canals so they can be properly filled, filling the canal space with specially designed materials, and placing temporary or permanent restoration to seal the access space.  The number of visits you need will depend on the degree of infection/inflammation and the degree of difficulty of treatment.  Some treatments require two visits, and occasionally, three appointments are needed.  But most of the time, only one visit is necessary.  To us, it is more important to do the very best possible job than meet a specific time restriction.
 
After completion of treatment, you will be instructed to return to your dentist for permanent restoration of the tooth. This is a vital component of treatment because it protects the tooth from breaking and prevents reinfection by the process of sealing the canal space from the oral environment.  You will need to see your dentist within a four weeks after root canal treatment is finished.
 
There are, of course, no guarantees.  Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success, up to 97%.  We will discuss with you the chances of success before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.  If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.

Why Would I Need Endodontic Treatment?

 
inflamed tooth
 

An endodontist is responsible for the diagnosis and treatment of tooth pain. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.  Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

Oral pain such as toothaches or cracked / fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth and/or in the head, neck, or ear. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

Treatment of Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by a blow to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries. For example, a blow to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing. A procedure called apexification stimulates bone to be deposited at the end of the root which makes it possible to then save the tooth through a root canal procedure. An endodontist is specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.

Will I Need to Return to your Office for Additional Visits?

Once endodontic therapy is completed your tooth should be examined periodically, usually every 6 - 12 months.  This allows us to make sure the tooth has healed or is healing properly.  You will be sent a notice via email when we feel it is appropriate to reevaluate the area.  Since an abscess may take two years to heal, our office will reevaluate the tooth for at least two years.  These visits are complimentary.  All we ask for is your time to ensure that your teeth are healing.

Retreatment

Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be maintained with a second endodontic treatment.

Jake Collins, D.D.S., M.S.                 
7300 Ranch Road 2222
Bldg. V, Ste 212
Austin, TX 78730

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Phone: (512) 346-7668
Fax: (512) 346-8300