Endodontics is the branch of dentistry concerning dental pulp and tissues surrounding the roots of a tooth. “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment, or root canal treatment, treats the soft pulp tissue inside the tooth. An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth. (MouthHealthy.org)
Dr. Knox performs endodontic treatment or root canal treatment. However, as with all advanced procedures, she will refer a patient to an endodontist if she feels that it is in the patient’s best interest to do so. Advanced technologies and specialized techniques used by endodontists give them a very accurate view of the inside of the tooth and allow them to treat the tooth quickly, especially when there are multiple canals in the roots of the tooth.
Root canal treatment does not need to be painful and is usually used to treat teeth that have begun the process of dying. That can happen when decay reaches the pulp, nerve, of the tooth or the tooth was subjected to a trauma which can happen to athletes that do not wear mouth guards.
Endodontic treatment is usually a two-step process. First, the doctor removes the pulp from the tooth and fills the space with a temporary filling. At a later date, usually about 30 days later, the temporary filling is replaced with a permanent filling.
Dr. Knox usually recommends that a crown be placed on a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment because it becomes brittle with age and can break more easily without a crown to protect it. The tooth can be prepared for the crown when the permanent filling is placed. The crown is inserted a few weeks later.
Not all teeth are good candidates for endodontic treatment. Teeth with one more fractures, cracks, are one example. Another are teeth that will not have enough natural tooth left after the procedure and so could not be restored.
By saving your tooth, you keep your natural smile, so you can continue to eat your favorite foods and maintain your overall health. Nothing looks, feels or functions like your natural tooth!