What is an endodontist?

Taking their name from the Latin words for inner (endo) and tooth (odons), endodontists treat patients who have problems inside of their teeth, most often with the dental pulp. In addressing issues with the dental pulp, DFW endodontists often help patients to preserve their natural teeth.

Structurally, the tooth’s pulp is complex. The soft tissue, contained in a channel in the innermost section of the tooth, is comprised of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. As such, problems with the pulp can be particularly painful. An endodontist can help to relieve this discomfort and protect the patient’s health.

The procedure most commonly associated with an endodontist is the root canal, which is used to treat infection or disease in the tooth’s pulp. An endodontist may also perform a root canal on a patient who has suffered dental trauma that jeopardizes the tooth’s long-term stability.

In performing a root canal, the endodontist will remove the diseased pulp from the canal, replacing the tissue with an inert rubber-like biological material known as gutta percha. After the root canal is complete, a crown must be placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

Endodontists may also use surgical interventions, such as an apicoectomy, to eliminate problems with the dental pulp if a root canal is not feasible or sufficient.

Eliminating infection in the interior part of the tooth is important to a patient’s overall health, as infections in the mouth can spread to other locations in the body, creating systemic problems. In some cases, an endodontist may perform a root canal when a tooth faces a significant risk of a pulp infection, such as when the tooth is cracked or damaged due to injury.

Endodontists are well-qualified to treat problems of the inner teeth. After completing dental school, endodontists go on to complete post-graduate residency programs in their specialty, giving them intensive training in the area. Because endodontists perform root canals and other related procedures on a daily basis, they gain valuable experience that reduces the likelihood of complications for the patient.