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Frequently Asked Questions About Endodontics

Wisdom tooth extraction

Going to the dental office can make some people nervous, especially if you?re headed there for endodontic services like a root canal or tooth removal. One way to make it easier for yourself is to know what you can expect from dentistry in general, but also what will happen during a specific procedure. If you?re headed in for emergency dental services or endodontic services, here are some frequently asked questions, and their answers, that might help you know what to expect:

What?s the Difference Between Endodontic Services and Regular Dentistry?

Endodontics is special care for damaged teeth and requires more education and training beyond regular dentistry. This type of dentist treats teeth that have a lot of decay, or are cracked, or have become abscessed. Some dentists can offer cleaning and other typical dental procedures as well as endodontic services. Others offer only one or the other. In general, though, endodontics is about ending the pain in your face or mouth and preventing further issues by treating diseased or damaged teeth.

How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?

Issues with damaged or diseased teeth can come to light during routine exams and cleanings, or you may seek out help when you start experiencing symptoms. Symptoms can include swelling and tenderness in the gum, pain, or increased sensitivity to heat or cold. Be sure to keep up with your dental X-rays, though, as some issues of decay don?t have many symptoms and only show up during examinations.

Will it Hurt?

Dentistry has come a long way, and endodontic services are no different. Modern root canals can be done with a minimum of discomfort; in fact a lot of people find it no more difficult than having a filling put in. The procedure itself will be painless, and afterwards you’ll likely feel some tenderness for a week or two. Normally over the counter painkillers are enough to deal with any pain, but of course the dentist office can and will prescribe more serious painkillers if that becomes necessary.

What?s the Deal With My Wisdom Tooth?

Some people come for endodontics because a wisdom tooth has become abscessed or impacted. This is not at all uncommon. There?s usually only room in the human mouth for about 28 teeth, so it?s quite normal for adults to find that the back molars, known as wisdom teeth, don?t have enough room to develop. These are the last teeth to come in, so the rest of the teeth have basically taken up all the room already. In America, five million people have a wisdom tooth removed every year.

What Are the Alternatives?

When a tooth is badly decayed or impacted, there often is no other option than root canal or similar endodontic service. If the situation is not treated quickly, the end result could be that the tooth will have to be removed and replaced with an implant or dental bridge. Removing and replacing a diseased tooth is far more time consuming and difficult than a root canal, so it?s worth getting a decayed or damaged tooth taken care of as quickly as possible.

Endodontic treatment is often a necessary step in making sure you have a healthy, functioning mouth–and smile–for the rest of your life. If you?ve been referred to a specialist by your regular dentist, or are experiencing symptoms of tooth decay, don?t wait. Your health and comfort are too important.

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