What is an Endodontist?

Why would I need Endodontic treatment?

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 in your tooth. 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. Baltimore Washington Endo is your Columbia root canal specialist.

Signs and Symptoms

Indications for treatment include:

  • prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold,
  • discoloration of the tooth,
  • swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums
  • Sometimes, remarkably, there are no symptoms.

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is the science of treating problems with the tissue inside the tooth (dental pulp). When this tissue or the tissue surrounding the tooth root is diseased or damaged due to decay or trauma, endodontic treatment is typically needed to save the tooth.

Although General Dentists can perform Endodontic treatment, patients are often referred to an Endodontist when the case is complicated or more difficult than usual. In order to understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. 

Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentin and Enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. 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.

What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists with over 2 additional years of advanced specialty education in diagnosis and root canal treatment. Their specialized training enables them to diagnose and treat difficult cases such as teeth with narrow or blocked canals, unusual anatomy, or teeth which have previously had root canal treatment. Because they limit their practices to endodontics they treat these types of cases every day. Read more on the American Association of Endodontics website.