Within the field of dentistry, there are many different areas in which one can specialize in. An endodontic dentist, also referred to as an endodontist, deals specifically with what is known as endodontic therapy, or more commonly, root canal therapy. Normally, unless you have a specific dental issue, you will not be referred to an endodontist. The word endodontist comes from the Greek word “odous” which means tooth.
Although a general dentist can also perform root canal procedures, and endodontist is trained in dealing with complex or difficult root canal treatments as well as root canal surgeries. Even if your regular dentist can perform your root canal, you may prefer to schedule an appointment with an endodontist. Endondontists are generally much more experienced in performing root canals, often have the latest and most advanced techniques, and can therefore make the entire process much less unpleasant.
To become an endodontist, one requires an extra two years of schooling on top of the standard four years of dental school. Depending on where one lives, an endondontist can earn on average anywhere from $80,000 to $400,000 a year, with the median annual earning being approximately $200,000.
A patient with pulp damage or requiring a root canal will often experience extreme sensitivity to hold and cold as well as a toothache. Allowing a tooth with damaged pulp to remain unchecked can ultimately lead to losing the tooth entirely, and cause further problems in the bone and gum tissue surrounding the infected tooth.
When you visit an endodontist for a root canal, they will generally begin by giving you a local anesthetic. This helps make the procedure as pleasant as possible as prevents the root canal process from causing any pain. The tooth receiving the root canal is then dried and prepped for the procedure using special tools. In general, completing a root canal procedure should not take more than one visit. However, if your procedure is especially complicated, multiple visits may be necessary.
In general, root canals are a successful way of salvaging a damaged tooth. A tooth that has a root canal is general weaker than a normal tooth. After receiving a root canal, it is usually recommended to visit your endodontist again for a checkup approximately six months later to have the tooth checked on. One the root canal has been completed, you should no longer experience pay or sensitivity in the area. If you continue to experience pain or throbbing in the area, your root canal may not have been successful and may require a sooner visit to your endodontist.