Endodontics & Endodontists

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Endodontics is a specialist field of dentistry which focuses on diagnosing and treating disease, injuries or pain which occur due to a problem in the roots of teeth, the nearby tissues or the central part of your teeth, the pulp. You may find Endodontic specialists working in NHS hospitals, private specialist clinics or in dental community clinics.

Endodontic Treatments

The most common treatment performed by endodontists is the root canal treatment. During this procedure the infected pulp tissue is extracted from inside the tooth. A thorough cleaning is then performed to make sure no infected tissues remains before the space is filled in order to protect the root canal system from further infection and discomfort. A root canal treatment is required when a tooth has become decayed, allowing infection to spread into the pulp. The pulp houses many nerves and blood vessels and if it becomes infected, it can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. A root canal may also be used to treat teeth that have been badly damaged through trauma or injury. In cases such as this, the pulp is at an increased risk of infection and a root canal can help to protect against several potential problems. The main benefit of using the root canal treatment is that functionality can be restored to a dead tooth, without resorting to extraction. In some cases, a root canal treatment won't be sufficient to protect the tooth and re-infection can occur. This is usually treatable with a re-root procedure, but in some cases this won't be enough and an apicectomy may be required. In this procedure, the dentist creates a small flap in your gums and drills through the bone to access the root of the tooth. Following this, a section of the tip of the problem root will be extracted and the rest of the root will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being filled.

Difficult cases involving root problems are often referred to Endotontic specialists by general dental practitioners. This is especially common in cases where the patient has a complex root canal system or where a root canal treatment has achieved little success. Endodontic specialists are often called in if a problem has occurred during initial surgery such as broken surgical tools being left in the root canal system.

Qualifications of Endodontists

As well as being a registered dentist, to apply for speciality training, trainees will also need at least two years of postgraduate general professional training. They will also need to have achieved Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery or its analogue from the Royal College of Surgeons. During speciality training, there is three years of postgraduate training which is used to prepare trainees for their Master of Clinical Dentistry in Endodontics exam. If they achieve this, they will also need to sit their Diploma of Membership in Restorative Dentistry exam which is held by the Royal College of Surgeons. During this exam, all facets of restorative dentistry will be covered as well as testing them on their endodontic speciality. If these exams are successfully completed, trainees will be given their Certificate of Completion of Specialist training, which enables them to be included on the endodontic speciality list.

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