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John Goessman D.D.S., M.S.

 

General Information

What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists specialize in the branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving diagnosis and treatment of the neurovascular bundle (dental pulp) within the tooth.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.   All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer patients to endodontists.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year.  This treatment can save your natural tooth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges. 

After local anesthetic is given, the tooth is isolated with a sheet of latex and the injured pulp is removed.  The root canal system is then thoroughly cleaned, shaped, and sealed to prevent leakage.  Typically the procedure is completed in one appointment and you will be able to drive home after the treatment  unless otherwise specified by the doctor. 

 

What is the prognosis?

There are, of course, no guarantees.  Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success, up to 95%.   We will discuss with you the chances of success before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.  If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.

Diagnoses and Treats Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches or cracked / fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth or elsewhere in the head, neck, or ear. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

Treats Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by a blow to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries. For example, a blow to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing. A procedure called apexification stimulates bone to be deposited at the end of the root which makes it possible to then save the tooth through a root canal procedure. 

Follow up visits?

Once endodontic therapy is completed your tooth should be examined afer 6 - 12 months.  This allows us to make sure the tooth has healed or is healing properly.  You will be sent a notice in the mail when we feel it is appropriate to reevaluate the area.

There is no charge for follow up visits.  

Retreatment

Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic, treatment fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be maintained with a second endodontic treatment.