Endodontists are dental specialists that work with the inner most portion of the tooth--the pulp. While they are mostly known for the root canal work they perform, these ADA recognized specialists render a variety of services--some which attempt to maintain the pulp. Endodontists are most often, however, involved with retaining teeth that have had bacteria enter into the pulp of the tooth. Endodontists have post-doctoral Master's Degrees in the practice of Endodontics from accredited dental schools, and have past board exams in their field.
Teeth with deep decay, cracks or severe wear allows bacteria to get in the pulp, and this causes inflammation and pain from the nerves within the pulp. Given enough time, such teeth will usually abscess, causing more subsequent pain, that then comes from nerves surrounding the root. Such abscessing teeths can cause serious, spreading infection in the soft tissues of the face.
Endodontics, or root canal therapy, is something our office offers to patients. In certain cases, however, you may be referred to this type of specialist for endodontic therapy.
Certain teeth, such as molars, have narrow, curved root canals and access to such is sometimes difficult. In addition, molars have 3 or more canals and each one must be treated successfully. Thus, molar endodontic therapy is technically more demanding, more time consuming and more difficult on the patient as they must remain with their mouth open wider for longer periods of time.
As such, completing this type of procedure quickly, accurately, comfortably and precisely is of prime importance. Endodontists, which do little other than this type of work, have their skills honed well and their practices geared to render such care. Other difficult to treat teeth, such as those with highly calcified canals, may also be better suited to be treated by and Endodontist, rather than your General Dentist.
Several longitudinal studies, conducted by major universities, also allude to the fact that molar endodontics performed by these dental specialists have a higher success rate over a five years study period.
All these factors cause many general dentists to refer their molar root canal therapy and other difficult root canal therapy to the Endodontist.
As most teeth that receive root canal therapy then need to be restored with a crown, we want the highest possible chances of success for the root canal therapy. Should an endodontic procedure fail after the crown is permanently cemented, it can mean having to drill through the chewing surface of the crown to perform a re-treatment--a highly undesirable situation. Providing the very best possibility of success for endodontic therapy is essential.
Dr. Titus will tell you when he feels its appropriate for you to see this type of dental specialist.