Endodontics involves treating a root canal, the nerve inside the tooth. Each tooth has blood vessels and nerves that can become inflamed, leading to infection. In such cases, the tooth may need a root canal, what we commonly call endodontics. This process involves removing the infected or inflamed nerve tissue in the tooth, cleaning it out, and placing a filling all the way into the root where the nerve was.
There are situations where your general dentist may not perform root canals, or they may not perform them on certain teeth. If they identify a particularly complicated or involved case during an x-ray or examination, they may refer you to an endodontist who specializes in that procedure.
A general dentist performs a variety of dental procedures, such as fillings, crowns, root canals, and removing teeth. An endodontist, on the other hand, specializes solely in root canals, seeing only patients that need this procedure. They may also perform some surgeries associated with root canals.
Most procedures in endodontics involve a root canal, in which the diseased nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth are removed, sterilized, and then filled to prevent further infection. Endodontists may also perform minor surgical procedures, such as an apicoectomy, which involves a small surgery at the end of the root.
An endodontist can technically pull a tooth, but they usually do not. They typically stick to their specialty, which is root canals.
An endodontist uses several tests to determine if a root canal is needed. These tests may include x-rays, cold tests where the reaction to cold is recorded, a pulp tester, and sometimes a 3D CT scan of the tooth.
Most insurance plans cover endodontic procedures. However, coverage can vary, so it's best to check with the dental office to see how these procedures are covered.
If you have additional questions, please call us at Montpelier Family Dentistry at (301) 812-4599.