If you are dealing with the pain of an abscessed tooth or toothaches caused by cavities, you may need to have root canal surgery done. This is not something that the average dentist performs in his office. You will probably need to visit an endodontist for this type of procedure. This is a dental surgeon who, in addition to their regular dental degree, has had two or three years of additional training in an endodontics postdoctoral residency program. In addition to specializing in root canal surgeries, these dentists also have the training to be able to diagnose and treat many other problems, including:
- Pain in the face
- Treating teeth that have been damaged by trauma
- Treating complex root canals
- Treating teeth that have already had root canals with non-surgical treatments
- Surgeries for endodontic diseases that respond to no other treatments
In order for one to become an endodontist, they must not only complete a full four years of dental school, but also two or more years of advanced training. This must be done at a school that offers postdoctoral programs that are accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). Upon completion of their training, entodontists can diagnose dental issues, then come up with the best plan for treatment.
Finding an Endodontist
In most cases, patients who need work that is beyond the scope of their regular dentists will be referred to endodontists. But, it is also possible to find them on your own. Of course, you will need to do a lot of research, and make sure that they are fully qualified before making your final decision. Ask about how long they have been in practice, how much experience they have performing root canal surgeries, and about their experience with other procedures that you may need to have. The endodontist you choose should have many years of experience. Some other things to think about when looking for an dental surgeon are:
- Equipment Used – The endodontist you choose should be using the latest in dental technology. All equipment should be the most up-to-date, and the facilities should be clean. Find out what materials are used for posts and cores. If you have any allergies, now is the time to mention it. Some people are allergic to some dental materials.
- Professional Organizations – Does the endodontist belong to professional dental societies or teach at dental colleges?
- Personality – It is important that your endodontist has a good bedside manner, or at least that you are able to easily get along with each other. All of the staff should be friendly and helpful.
- Fees – Dental work can be expensive, and you will need to know in advance how much your surgery is going to cost. Find out if they accept your dental coverage, and if they have financing options.
- Medications – You may need pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications following root canal surgeries. Be sure to inquire about which medications are used, especially if you have any allergies to medications.
- Office Hours – You need to know that the endodontist has hours that are convenient. They should also offer emergency appointments after hours, such as weekends and holidays. Don’t forget to ask who actually provides the emergency services.
It is important to discuss all medications that you are taking, especially if you are having cancer treatments. The medications you take can greatly affect the outcome of your dental treatment. Your endodontist should be in contact with your physician, oncologist, and regular dentist to get your full medical history.
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