American Academy of Endodontics
(NAPS)-When her tooth suddenly became sensitive to hot and cold foods, Sande Gioia knew something was wrong with her tooth and feared worse pain was on its way. She immediately made an appointment with her dentist, who referred her to an endodontist, a root canal specialist. Endodontists, her dentist explained, work on problems inside the tooth and are experts at relieving tooth pain. With two to three years of additional training after dental school, endodontists are best prepared to perform challenging root canal procedures and ultimately ease tooth pain.
"I've experienced excruciating pain with a tooth in the past because it was infected," says Gioia. "When another tooth began to hurt, I knew that I would need to see an endodontist for treatment right away. As soon as the root canal was over, the pain was gone and my tooth felt like new again."
During a root canal treatment, the endodontist removes the infected or damaged pulp inside the tooth, then cleans, fills and seals the tooth. Although patients often view this process with anxiety and fear, root canal treatment is actually a virtually painless procedure that helps to relieve tooth pain. Root canal treated teeth can often last a lifetime without additional dental work.
On average, endodontists perform 25 root canal procedures each week. Using state-of-the-art operating microscopes and digital X-ray technology, the procedure has become more precise and less invasive and, therefore, less painful. These advances, paired with improved anesthesia, can make endodontic procedures as routine as having a cavity filled.
In fact, 89 percent of patients that had received a root canal from an endodontist would return to the specialist if they needed another procedure, according to a survey by L.C. Williams & Associates. In the same survey, 68 percent of respondents who had received a root canal used positive words to describe the experience.
"Continued technical advancement is essential to helping us create a better experience for our patients," says Dr. Shepard S. Goldstein, president of the American Association of Endodontists. "Now we can eliminate almost all pain from a compromised tooth through root canal treatment and save many natural teeth that would have been lost to extraction just a few years ago."
Endodontists' advanced training and commitment to the specialty make them true experts in endodontic procedures. The next time you experience tooth pain or even facial pain because of your teeth, ask your dentist if a consultation by an endodontist may help ease your pain.