The Practice Of Endodontics: What It Is, Who Does It, And Why You May Need It

Orthodontics treats the alignment of your teeth, while endodontics treats the interior health of your teeth. Some patients may assume (incorrectly) that because both words end with -dontics that the same type of oral practitioner does both. The following article helps explain endodontics in more detail and will help you understand why your dentist recommends endodontic care.

What It Is

Endodontics is the study and treatment of the innards of teeth. All of the pulp, the arterioles, venules and the lymph-- everything that makes a tooth a living thing-- is part of endodontics. Endodontic procedures include:

  • Root canals
  • Cracked tooth repair
  • Dental trauma, such as teeth ripped from their sockets
  • Treating abscesses, draining pus and combating infection
  • Treating cancer of the gums and teeth

Who Does It

Dentists and oral surgeons can both be endodontists if they have completed the additional education and training. Since many dentists can perform the most common endodontic procedure, a root canal, they have the training and skills in endodontics. Rarely, if ever, does a dental student specialize in just endodontics and open a practice for this specialty alone.

Why You May Need It

No one passes through a full life without needing some form of endodontic treatment. Even if you have the most excellent oral hygiene habits of anyone your age, teeth still deteriorate over time. That means that eventually your dentist will have to intervene to preserve the life of your teeth so that you have them for as long as possible. Avoiding situations that could damage your teeth, e.g., bar room brawls and playing hockey, helps to preserve your teeth against harm and against the need for endodontic procedures. Other situations like cancer happen, and your dentist will help you preserve your teeth as much as possible.

Going Without Endodontic Treatment

In most cases, going without endodontic treatment means extreme pain, the inability to eat and chew normally, and the potential for serious damage to the teeth around the affected tooth. The pain is usually enough to cause you to seek out treatment from your dentist, but some people avoid dentists for fear that a root canal will be more painful than what they are currently experiencing. In fact, the root canal helps alleviate a lot of the pain, it saves the tooth, and your dentist will prescribe painkillers to help you address any remaining pain after the procedure. The same holds true for other endodontic procedures.

For more information, contact an endodontist at Dodson Endodontics.