A root canal is relatively self-explanatory in what it is. It’s the process of entering into the root of a tooth to extract dead or diseased tissue (such as nerve endings, pulp, and other organic material within the tooth). However, while the name is straightforward, the procedure isn’t always as cut and dry. The inner workings of a tooth’s root are surprisingly complex, as the canals can split and become difficult to follow, almost like a miniature cave system twisting through the inside of every tooth you have. So, if it is determined you need a root canal, one of your first questions will likely be what kind of dentist does root canals? Can you remain with your current dentist, or do you need to see a specialist? Here’s what you need to know about what kind of dentist performs root canal surgery.
Your Dentist Might
A traditional dentist will provide you with your basic dental needs. They clean your teeth, fill cavities, go over gum health with you, and in some instances, they might perform dental extractions or other surgical procedures. When it comes to root canals, some dentists will perform these while others will send you to a specialist. It really depends on the dentist, their training, and what needs to be done.
A root canal is about as in-depth of oral surgery as a regular dentist will perform. They also don’t perform root canals all that frequently, which opens up the possibility of missing some of the pulp, nerve endings, or other material inside the tooth. Should this happen, there’s a good chance you will need a second root canal to go in and clean out what was missed.
So, there is a possibility your dentist might send you to a specialist. You may also want to seek out a specialist on your own if you would rather have someone who regularly performs this kind of oral surgery over your dentist, who spends more time helping you maintain your teeth.
There are a handful of specialists in the dental community. Those that focus specifically on root canals are endodontists. While a general dentist does have the training and the skill to perform a root canal, an endodontist is a dentist that regularly performs these kinds of procedures several times during the week. With repetition comes greater skill, not to mention they are more accustomed to working with teeth that might have tighter, difficult to navigate root canal systems (some canal systems are straightforward and easy to follow, while others can become a labyrinth of tiny caverns, which does make it more of a challenge).
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
The main purpose of a root canal is to save your tooth. You might have fallen and banged your mouth onto the floor, been playing with your children, and one of them hit your jaw while jumping around, or you could have simply bitten down into something far harder than you anticipated. Whatever the cause, a sudden impact on your mouth can damage the nerves within a tooth to the point of killing the nerves.
At first, you might feel a sense of pain from the initial impact. Over time, this pain will transition into another kind of throbbing pain from within the tooth. This lingering pain isn’t from the actual impact now, but instead, it’s from the dead nerves in your tooth, firing off pain receptors to your brain.
Once there is dead tissue within your tooth, you need to extract it as quickly as possible. Dead tissue will begin to rot, which not only affects the surrounding, healthy tissue inside the tooth but can spread to neighboring structures as well. If left untreated, that accidental bump in your mouth can end up costing you your tooth.
When you see your dentist, they will inspect the hurting tooth. They will also take X-rays to pinpoint what is going on. Your general dentist will be able to tell you what’s going on and that you need a root canal to calm the pain and save your tooth.
What is the Pulp That is Removed? Sports Injuries
Whether talking with your dentist or an endodontist, they will discuss pulp removal from your tooth. “Pulp” is the combination of blood vessels, nerves, and tissue found inside of your tooth. It’s what keeps your tooth alive. So, when the nerves die, the blood vessels will also begin to die. This can also lead to blackening of the tooth, making many feel self-conscious (especially if it is a front tooth). With the help of a root canal, you’ll save the tooth, stop the pain, and avoid any discoloration of your tooth.
If discoloration has already occurred, a whitening agent can be placed inside of the tooth during the root canal procedure. This will help the tooth maintain its appearance. Following the root canal, it will appear to be a healthy, normal tooth, just like every other tooth in your mouth. The only difference is the tooth is technically dead because it no longer has a blood supply to it. But nobody else will know except you.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
Are you in need of a root canal? Did your general dentist recommend a root canal and has suggested you seek out a specialist? Or perhaps you feel more comfortable having an endodontist perform the procedure instead of your general dentist. Whatever the reason, your best option is to schedule a consultation with the team at Southern Endodontic Specialists. Dr. Benjamin Ber and Dr. Steven Gaudet will work with you in determining the best course of action for your tooth, whether you actually need a root canal or if a different treatment is a better alternative. So, contact the staff and set up an appointment today.