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Colorado Endodontic Specialists, PC

Littleton, CO

What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists are dentists with two to three additional years of advanced specialty education in diagnosis and root canal treatment after receiving their D.D.S. degree.

Endodontists typically practice surgical or nonsurgical root canals exclusively, so they are specialists in this area. They use their special training and experience when treating difficult cases, such as teeth with abscesses; narrow, calcified canals; or unusual anatomy.

Endodontists may also use advanced technology, such as operating microscopes and digital imaging to perform these special services.

What is Endodontics?

Unless people have had a root canal, many do not know what endodontics is--and this is understandable! Often a person learns about Endodontics when he/she experiences pain, has difficulty eating or chewing, has hot or cold sensitivity, or swelling of the gum. It is typically a visit to the dentist that confirms a root canal problem.

Endodontic treatment is commonly known as root canal therapy. This treatment is performed by removing dying or infected pulp tissues inside the tooth. The procedure helps alleviate pain and prevent infection from occurring or spreading. After treatment has been performed, a crown or other restoration is necessary to protect and restore the tooth to its full function.

Root canal therapy is often recommended to save a tooth that would otherwise be extracted. If Endodontic problems are detected early and treated before an infection occurs, healing is usually faster. In severe cases (where toothache is "full blown"), Endodontic treatment can be uncomfortable. In these cases, it may be recommended that a patient take antibiotics to calm symptoms before continuing with the treatment. Ideally, treating a tooth that needs root canal therapy at a calm stage produces better results--and this is often the case.

If you are interested in learning more about what typically goes on during a root canal, or if you are just more of a visual learner, feel free to watch the animated diagrams on this site.

Still, in order to better understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers--the outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard, bone-like tissue called Enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called Dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the Pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding Dentin and Enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.