The endodontist is an expert regarding the tooth pulp, tooth root, and associated structures and diseases. Their primary procedure is root canal therapy (RCT). Although general dentists are trained to diagnose and treat mostly “straightforward” root canal problems, the endodontist in Rocklin, [name] treats the more complex and difficult cases. Their additional years of education and residency training provide endodontists with specialized skills to diagnose and treat complex cases that general dentists aren’t experienced enough or comfortable enough to treat. These may include teeth with particularly narrow root canals, calcified/obstructed root canals, additional branching of root canal anatomy, and teeth with extremely “curved” roots. An added benefit of seeing an endodontist is the state-of-the-art specialized technology employed in their offices. Most endodontists use high-resolution microscopes to assist them in seeing way beyond the naked eye.
In addition to RCT, other endodontic procedures include stabilizing tooth fractures, draining infections in and around tooth roots, internal bleaching and surgical procedures known as apicoectomies. Bar far the most common endodontic procedure is root canal therapy, which is often referred to as “a root canal.” When tooth decay has reached close to or directly into the dental pulp (nerve) of a tooth, inflammation and infection result, usually causing extreme pain. The anatomy of a tooth has a lot to do with this response. Because a tooth is a “solid” container without the ability to expand to accommodate swelling, pressure is contained within. Without a vent or outlet to relieve the pressure, the nerve is constricted and may eventually die.
Absence of pain is not good criteria for avoiding endodontic treatment. In fact, in most cases, tooth nerves die quietly and slowly over time. In either case, whether the patient experiences excruciating, spontaneous pain from an acute infection or complete absence of pain in the presence of a long-standing infection, a root canal procedure is indicated. If untreated dental infection goes long enough, it can spread, causing massive swelling in the face or infecting the mediastinum and brain. Infections of this type usually aren’t responsive to your immune system since the origin of infection is confined to a restricted area inside the tooth. Antibiotic therapy may help treat the associated abscess, but will not resolve the endodontic infection due to a compromised blood flow and its inability to carry sufficient levels of antibiotic to the infected area. In order to treat and eliminate the source of the endodontic infection and prevent further spreading, a root canal must be performed by an endodontist, or if trained, by a general dentist. Dr. Craig Wada will determine your particular situation and ensure you have the proper treatment.
Of all the dental specialists, treatment by the endodontist has been given the worst rap, especially by the media. This reputation is undeserving. In fact, most root canal treatments do not hurt and are comparable to the pain experienced during a simple filling procedure. It’s only when infection overwhelms the area and causes acidic changes in the local pH that the root canal procedure becomes painful. Since local anesthetic works best at neutral pH, an acidic pH (associated with severe infection) nullifies the anesthetic’s ability to numb the area. Long story short: don’t wait until there’s a serious problem, and get treatment before it’s too late.
Contact the dentist at Placer Prosthodontics Inc. for more information about our endodontist. You can reach our office at (916) 630-9048.