Who is an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dental professional that specializes in the examining, diagnosing and treating the innermost layer of a tooth known as the pulp. The pulp is the most sensitive and most complex part of a healthy tooth – it is home to a series of nerves and vessels that provide sensation and nourishment to the tooth respectively. Therefore, any damage to the pulp in the form of trauma or infection can lead to a number of painful symptoms in patients, and if left untreated, can subsequently result in the loss of the affected tooth.
What does an endodontist do?
When you visit the dental office, an endodontist is going to examine your tooth in question and perform a few tests. These are known as the pulp sensibility and vitality tests, and are used to determine the health of your tooth’s innermost layer. The affected tooth is subjected to hot and cold stimuli and the response of the patient is recorded. Next, the EPT, or the Electric Pulp Test may be performed; the reading of which indicate whether or not the pulp is vital.
Next, radiographs are taken to create definitive diagnosis. An infection in the pulp and surrounding soft tissues may appear radiolucent on the x-rays. These intra-oral pictures help endodontists plan the treatment and proceed with the root canal therapy of the affected tooth.
What happens during an endodontic treatment?
Direct trauma to the teeth, or uninhibited caries that has reached the pulp are two of the most common reasons why root canal treatments are performed. The aim of the therapy is to remove the non-vital or infected pulp entirely from the pulp canals and chambers. These canals are cleaned and shaped using special endodontic files and then irrigated for optimal disinfection. Once completely dry, they are then filled with the help of a thermos-plastic, endodontic filling material known as Gutta Percha, or GP points.
Depending upon the tooth and its location in the oral cavity, this treatment can either be completed in a single visit, or have its different phases divided into multiple visits.Because the affected tooth sustains a significant amount to damage and loss of structure due to caries, it has to be covered with a dental crown to preserve its structure and to restore its function in the mouth.
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