If you visit your general dentist with tooth pain or a history of pain within the root of the tooth, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. Although many general dentists perform root canal therapy, in many cases they prefer to refer treatment to a specialist for endodontic care.
What is an Endodontist?
All endodontists are dentists, but a very small percentage of dentists are endodontists. These specialists receive an additional two or three years of training beyond dental school. They primarily study the interior of the tooth focusing on tooth pain and root canals.
Types of Endodontic Solutions
An endo specialist provides dental treatment that deals with the interior of the tooth.
Root Canal Therapy
If you have a toothache, this often means you have an infection in your tooth root. An endodontist cleans the infection from the root canal, then fills the tooth root and seals it. Because this procedure removes the living tissue from the tooth root, the remaining tooth structure can become brittle. A dental crown will strengthen the tooth enabling you to chew comfortably again.
Retreatment after a root canal might be needed if infection recurs after the initial treatment. Perhaps the canal anatomy is particularly complex and bacteria was left behind in the area. If placement of the dental crown was delayed after the root canal, this can also make the tooth root vulnerable to salivary contamination. In most cases, however, endodontic treatment such as root canals have a very high rate of success.
If you have a root canal but your tooth cannot be successfully treated, your endodontist may recommend an apicoectomy. This surgical procedure removes and seals the very tip of the tooth root. This option can eliminate remaining infection and can save the tooth from extraction.
Cracked teeth can occur if you chew on hard foods, nonfood items or if you grind your teeth. You can also develop cracked teeth as part of the aging process. Cracked teeth are one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Although many people feel pain with a cracked tooth, this is not always the case. Regular dental exams can help identify cracked teeth in their earliest stages enabling repairs to be made by an endo specialist with bonding, crowns or a root canal.
If you are experiencing severe dental pain or have oral bleeding that will not stop, this is considered a dental emergency. When a tooth has been knocked out (avulsed), you need to seek immediate treatment from an endo specialist to try and save your tooth. If you suspect you have broken your jaw, you should contact 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Endodontists specialize in the following procedures: root canal, endodontic surgery, dental implants and traumatic dental injuries.
Most of our patients who need endodontic treatment do not need a referral from their general dentist. If you have pain or suspect you need a root canal specialist, reach out to our office.
You can call us at 888-329-8111, or fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you with an appointment time.
Please arrive at your initial appointment at least 15 minutes early so you can provide us with information about your health history, as well as current medical treatments and prescriptions.
Post-Treatment: What to Do After Endodontic Care
After endodontic care, the treated area might be tender for a few days. You should avoid alcohol and recreational drugs, especially if you are on pain medication.
Getting Your Root Canal and Endodontic Treatment at West Coast Dental
At West Coast Dental, our goal is to help ensure your teeth last a lifetime. Endodontic treatment can help ensure you enjoy a healthy smile for years to come.
Team of Board-Certified Endodontic Specialists
If you are experiencing dental pain and wondering whether you should go to the endodontist vs. the dentist. We welcome you to contact our office of endo specialists. Every member of our team is highly trained to provide you with the best endodontic services.
Same-Day Appointments Available
When you have a dental emergency, we can provide endodontic treatment the same day to get you on your way. Just contact us.
We Accept Most Insurances
We accept most insurance plans, as well as CareCredit for endodontic treatment. Just contact us and we can inform you of all your payment options.
We offer a variety of payment options to make your crown affordable. We also accept most dental insurance plans and have a dental discount program for patients without insurance. Call us at our toll-free number 888-329-8111 or make an appointment online here.
Here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding endodontic treatment.
Why should I go to an endodontist for my root canal treatment?
Endodontists have more training and experience in performing root canal treatment. The average general dentist might perform two root canals a week. However, an endodontist might perform as many as 25 in the same timeframe. This can mean a more streamlined process and better outcome for the patient.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Most people fear the root canal treatment as an extremely painful procedure, but the truth is that it is no worse than getting a cavity filled. Your endodontist will thoroughly numb the area before starting the procedure so it is relatively painless. You might feel some tenderness in the area after treatment, but this usually goes away after a couple of days. Often, the tooth pain that brings you into the dentist is far worse than the treatment.
Can I eat after a root canal treatment?
You can eat after a root canal procedure, but you should take some precautions. Wait until the topical anesthetic wears off before eating so you don’t accidentally bite the inside of your cheek or tongue. During the first few days after the procedure, stick to soft foods that are easy to chew such as soups, yogurts and smoothies. It’s best to avoid hot and spicy foods in the days following the procedure.
How long is a root canal treatment?
For most people, root canal treatment will take about an hour. If you have a more complex case, it could take a bit longer than that. Ask your endodontist about how much time you can expect to be seated in the dental chair.
How do I know if I need an endodontist?
If you are experiencing a toothache or severe dental pain, or if your tooth has been knocked out (avulsed), it often makes sense to go straight to an endodontist. An endodontist has more training and experience dealing with these issues, and they can often get you feeling better and back to normal life the very same day. Your general dentist may also refer you to an endodontist if you present with these serious issues.
How can I take care of my teeth to prevent root canal issues?
Regular visits to your general dentist for cleanings and examinations are the best way to avoid dental issues such as needing a root canal. With regular examinations, your dentist can identify teeth that are weakened or cracked and make necessary repairs to the tooth before infection settles into the tooth root. You can also practice good oral hygiene at home by brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding acidic foods and drinks.
Do I need a referral to visit an endodontics?
In most cases, if you have a toothache or have had a tooth knocked out, you can go straight to the endodontist without a referral. However, if you have dental insurance, it’s always a good idea to check with your plan.
Is a root canal treatment covered by dental insurance?
Coverage for root canal treatment may or may not be covered by your dental insurance. Most dental insurance plans require that you meet a deductible before treatment is covered. Often, dental plans will provide a discount for the cost of treatment. It’s best to contact your insurance company directly to learn about the details of your coverage.
How much does root canal treatment cost?
The cost of root canal treatment varies depending on what kind of treatment you need and whether you get a dental crown afterward. Talk to your endodontist and insurance company to find out how best to defray the cost of this tooth-saving procedure.