What Is Endodontics?

What is an Endodontist, and What Do They Do?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy procedures involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in the diagnosis and endodontic therapy; however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment.  They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases.  For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.  


An Endodontist Diagnoses and Treats Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches or cracked/fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth and/or in the head, neck, or ear.  An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.


An Endodontist Treats Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by a blow to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries.  For example, a blow to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing.  A procedure called apexification stimulates bone to be deposited at the end of the root which makes it possible to then save the tooth through a root canal procedure.  An endodontist is specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.