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An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in dental pulp, the material inside a tooth that is made up of blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. Of all the layers of your teeth, the dental pulp is the most sensitive and the most susceptible to infection. When dental pulp becomes infected, it can cause severe pain that requires endodontic treatment.

Endodontic treatment focuses on saving teeth through procedures like root canals or apicoectomies. While general dentists are capable of performing many tooth-saving procedures, endodontists in particular have the extensive training and experience needed to save severely damaged or decayed teeth that may be beyond the scope of a general dentist. 

If dental infections are not treated as soon as possible, they can spread to other teeth, oral tissues, and even bone, resulting in additional tooth decay or tooth loss, bone loss, or even larger overall health problems. 

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When would I need to see an endodontist? 

There are many reasons that you may need to see an endodontist or seek endodontic treatment, but the primary one is tooth pain. If you’re feeling severe tooth pain, it could be a sign of an infection, and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Depending on the tooth affected and the severity, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist.

Another sign you may need an endodontist is a bacterial infection. If your oral health is showing signs of a bacterial infection, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. 

Lastly, tooth injuries–such as cracked or broken teeth–are commonly treated by an endodontist.

What kinds of procedures are performed by an endodontist?

Root Canals

  • Root canals are the most common procedure performed by an endodontist. Root canal treatment is performed to save the infected tooth and clear it of infection. 


  • Apicoectomies help save teeth by removing inflamed gum tissues and the end of the root of the infected tooth. While a root canal treats the inside of a tooth through the top, an apicoectomy only deals with the tip or end of a tooth root, leaving the surface of the tooth undisturbed.

Endodontic Surgery

  • Endodontic surgery is needed when tiny cracks or hidden canals of dental pulp appear during a routine root canal or similar endodontic surgery. 

Treatment for tooth or traumatic dental injuries

  • Traumatic dental injuries occur as a result of impact to the face. It’s rare to completely dislodge or knock out a tooth, but minor chips, cracks, and fractures are fairly common. An endodontist can save the teeth affected by the injury and check the nearby teeth for any damage as well. 

What is a root canal procedure?

The root canal procedure is one of the most familiar and most common procedures performed by an endodontist. Root canal treatment is necessary to remove infected dental pulp and fill in and seal off any open spaces left by the procedure.

  1. The dentist will take X-rays of your mouth to evaluate the extent of the infection. 
  2. A local anesthetic is administered to minimize any pain or discomfort during the procedure. 
  3. A plastic tray called a dental dam is placed inside your mouth to ensure your tooth and the area around it are protected from saliva that may build up during the procedure.
  4. A tiny hole is drilled into the surface of the tooth to reveal the dental pulp. All the infected tissue is cleaned out of the inside of the tooth, leaving an open space.
  5. The inside of the tooth is cleaned, dried, and sealed with a putty-like material.
  6. A temporary filling is placed inside the tooth to allow it to start healing and to further seal off the tooth. 
  7. Finally, a permanent crown is placed on the tooth. 

What is the procedure for an apicoectomy?

The lesser-known apicoectomy is often performed after a root canal, primarily if there was a complication that occurred after the root canal, another infection started, or an area of existing infection was missed. 

  1. As with any endodontic procedure, an apicoectomy will start with an x-ray of your mouth so your dentist can determine exactly where the tooth needs to be treated.
  2. Anesthesia will be applied to the region before the surgery starts to minimize pain and discomfort during the procedure. 
  3. Your endodontist will then make an incision to expose the infected portion of your tooth root inside your gums. Your tooth root will be cleaned and your endodontist will remove any infected or inflamed tissue around the root. Your endodontist will also remove the tip of your tooth root. 
  4. Your endodontist will then proceed to fill the exposed root canal. This will allow the portion of the tooth to heal properly and prevent future infections. 

How do you care for a tooth after endodontic treatment?

After an endodontic surgery, it’s important to care for your tooth and the area around it. If you are in the short healing period between having a root canal and receiving a permanent dental crown, it’s important to follow these guidelines to help ensure the best outcomes.

Brush and floss regularly and gently

Keeping everything around your treated area clean is extremely important. Brushing and flossing gently helps encourage healing and prevent further infection. Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush and avoid applying too much pressure. 

Rinse your mouth

This is one of the most effective ways to keep the treated area clean because it can clear out crevices your toothbrush can’t reach. Rinse your mouth out with a saline solution or homemade saltwater for 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day. 

Eat soft foods

After a root canal or apicoectomy, avoid crunchy or hard foods. These types of foods could accidentally shift or break a crown or filling, causing extreme pain and discomfort. It’s important to stick to soft foods during this period to make sure everything heals as it should and you don’t have to return for additional repairs or retreatment.

Listen to the dentist’s instructions

Every procedure is different, so be sure to follow the specific guidance your doctor gives you. It’s typical for your dentist to provide you with printed care instructions for you or your loved one, but if you don’t receive them, just ask.

How much does endodontic treatment cost?

Every patient, situation, and procedure is different. A more complex situation will be more expensive than a straight-forward one, and a lot will depend on the extent or severity of your condition. However, most dental health plans cover endodontic procedures like root canals, and Castle Dental accepts nearly all of them. 

Endodontic procedures are usually necessary to save a tooth or prevent further damage, and, at Castle Dental, we believe no one should go without that critical care because of inability to pay. In addition to our long list of accepted insurance plans, Castle Dental also offers our own OneSmile Dental Plan as well as flexible payment and financing options to help you afford the endodontic treatment you need.

Visit Castle Dental for Essential Endodontic Care

Castle Dental is committed to providing exceptional endodontic care that is also affordable and accessible. At all of our convenient retail locations, you’ll find experienced, highly trained general and specialty dentists who can provide the comprehensive care you and your family need for a lifetime of good health, including endodontists. With plenty of payment and financing options, as well as flexible scheduling and extended hours, Castle Dental helps make sure the dental care you deserve fits your schedule and your budget. Find the location nearest you and schedule an appointment today!