Like the prosthodontist and the periodontist, the endodontist is a dental specialist who trains for several additional years after graduating from dental school. This specialist has approximately six to seven years of dental training, making him or her an expert in endodontics.
The Branch of Endodontics
Endodontics deals mainly with abnormal conditions of the tooth pulp. The pulp is the innermost, “living”, portion of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located. There is some overlap among dental specialties; for instance, an endodontist may also handle cases of oral trauma, just as a prosthodontist does, since trauma can result in tooth infection and nerve damage.
What an Endodontist Can Do
An endodontist generally manages cases of inflamed or infected pulp, such as an abscess at the tooth root. The most common treatment for these conditions is a root canal. While a general dentist can and does sometimes perform root canals, an endodontist may be necessary in certain cases—either where the infection is extensive (presenting with severe pain or pus) or the patient has special medical needs. A root canal consists of removing the unhealthy tissue from inside the tooth, cleaning out the root, filling the empty cavity, and sealing the tooth. In some cases, a crown is recommended as added protection.
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