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Jason C. Joe DDS, Root Canal Specialist in Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, HI

 

General Information

Who are Endodontists and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy -- procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  Many times, these procedures are referred to as "root canals."

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education specialty training. They study root canal techniques in greater depth, and routinely perform difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.

What Happens During Endodontic Treatment? or What is a Root Canal?

A local anesthetic will be administered for comfort.  A sheet of latex called a "rubber dam" (we have non-latex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it and keep it clean and dry during treatment.  The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of office visits will depend on your particular case.  Some treatments require 2 visits but many are just a single visit.  Occasionally, 3 appointments are needed.

The number of required visits to our office depends on the level of infection/inflammation and the degree of treatment difficulty. 

There are, of course, no guarantees.  Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success.  We will discuss with you the chances of success before beginning any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision about your tooth.  Even if  root canal  therapy is unsuccessful, you still have options.

Diagnosing and Treating Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches or cracked / fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth and/or in the head, neck, or ear.

An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain.

Treating Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by a blow to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries. For example, a blow to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing. A procedure called apexification stimulates bone to be deposited at the end of the root which makes it possible to then save the tooth through a root canal procedure. An endodontist is specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked as a result of trauma.

Will I need to return to your office for Additional Visits?

Once endodontic therapy is completed your tooth should be examined periodically, usually every 6 - 12 months.  This allows us to make sure the tooth has healed or is healing properly.  You will be sent a notice in the mail when we feel it is appropriate to reevaluate the area.  Since an abscess may take 2 years to heal, our office will reevaluate the tooth for at least 2 years.

Retreatment

Occasionally, when a tooth has undergone endodontic treatment  it fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be maintained with a second endodontic treatment.