WHAT IS AN ENDODONTIST?
An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in saving teeth. To become a specialist, an endodontist completes dental school and at least two more years of education dedicated to advanced training in endodontics. They perform routine and very complex endodontic procedures including root canal treatment and endodontic surgery. Endodontists are experts in diagnosing and treating the cause of oral and facial pain. Endodontists provide the highest quality of care efficiently and comfortably through their advanced education and use of state-of-the-art technology such as digital imaging, operating microscopes, and ultrasonic instruments.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “BOARD CERTIFIED” IN ENDODONTICS?
Becoming board certified reflects a doctor’s commitment to provide outstanding patient care and is the highest status an endodontist can achieve. Board certification is a voluntary process and is a distinction earned by fewer than 20% of endodontists in the United States as of 2011.
The purpose of the American Board of Endodontics is to progressively raise the quality of patient care and to assure the public that the endodontists it certifies have demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skill, and expertise in the specialty of endodontics. To become board certified, an endodontist completes a rigorous three-part examination process. First, a written examination tests knowledge in a broad range of fields including anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, radiology, statistics, clinical endodontics, and related disciplines. Second, an endodontist submits documentation of a variety of cases treated in his/her own practice that demonstrate exceptional knowledge, skills, and expertise in the field of endodontics. Third, a team of board-certified endodontic experts questions the candidate about a variety of diagnosis and treatment situations. Candidates who pass this process demonstrate a high level of skill in problem solving, decision making, analysis, creativity, and evaluation.
IS ROOT CANAL TREATMENT PAINFUL?
Thanks to advancements in anesthetics and treatment techniques, the overwhelming majority of patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, the tooth often feels sensitive, especially if pain or infection was present before the procedure. This discomfort is usually well-controlled with over-the-counter pain medications. After one week, only 5% of patients report discomfort is still present and they rate their pain level as mild.