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Babak Nurbakhsh, Certified Specialist in Endodontics, Abbotsford, BC

 

General Information

What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may 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 their patients to endodontists.

Endodontist: Diagnose and Treat 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 and/or in the head, neck, or ear. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

What happens during Endodontic treatment or root canal treatment?

When the pulp, which consists of nerve tissue, blood vessels and connective tissue becomes inflamed or infected, root canal treatment can be performed. 

A local anesthetic will be given.  A rubber sheet called the "rubber dam" will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, keeping it clean and dry during treatment.  The treatment consists of three or four basic steps that include cleaning of the inflamed or infected pulp and preparation of the roots for a filling in order to provide a seal. 

The number of visits will depend on your particular case,  more specifically on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty.  To us, it's more important to do it the very best we can rather than to meet a specific time criteria.  

 

Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success.  Teeth which can be treated near ideal have a success rate up to and exceeding ninety percent!  The prognosis depends on several different factors, all of which will be discussed with you before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.  If root canal treatment or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.

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. 

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.

Endodontic surgery

Sometimes Endodontic surgery is indicated for diagnostic purposes, to treat persistent infections, or to treat damaged roots or surrounding bone. 

Apicoectomy

  One type of Endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy. 

During this procedure, the gum tissue next to the tooth is retracted, and the inflamed/infected tissue is removed along with the end of the root. A few stitches are placed to allow for the gums to heal properly.