Endodontic FAQs

Dental tooth x-ray

Endodontics Q&A

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is the dental specialty focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of teeth that are painful, infected, or traumatized.  

In the interior of your tooth is the dental pulp, which contains blood vessels and nerves and allows your teeth to feel hot and cold sensations. Dentin is a hard substance that surrounds the pulp and is, in turn, covered by enamel.

Tooth decay can penetrate the enamel and dentin all the way to the pulp and cause pain and infection. Trauma can break or crack a tooth and expose the pulp, which can cause pain and potential tooth loss. Endodontic treatment (root canal treatment) removes decay and other infected material from your tooth and seals your tooth against future decay and infection. 

What is an endodontist?

An endodontist is a dentist who completes additional training of at least two years in a formal graduate residency and then limits their practice to endodontic procedures. Dr. Davis and Dr. Schwartz practiced general dentistry for about 20 years before completing rigorous post-doctoral training in endodontics. Both completed residencies in general dentistry earlier in their careers. They conducted research for many years and have published many articles in scientific journals and textbooks.

Some general dentists do root canal treatment, but refer the more difficult treatments to an endodontist. A typical endodontist performs 800-1,000 root canal procedures a year and has the experience, special skills, and technology to deal with the most difficult cases. General dentists also routinely consult with their endodontists about patients and rely on their judgment and expertise.

The team at Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio educate their patients about their particular situation and helps them to make the right decisions about their healthcare. 

Why would I need endodontic care?

Some of the signs of an endodontic problem include:

  • Sensitivity when consuming cold or hot foods or beverages
  • Swelling of the soft tissue around the affected teeth or in the cheek or chin
  • Pain in your teeth when chewing or applying pressure
  • Discoloration that doesn’t respond to traditional teeth whitening 

In addition, you can have a “silent” infected tooth, which has no symptoms, but the infection shows up on an X-ray. Endodontic treatments can prevent tooth loss and preserve your smile. 

What happens during a root canal?

Once the problem is diagnosed and it is determined that root canal treatment is the best course of action, the tooth is anesthetized and rendered completely numb. The infected or inflamed pulpal tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth, which is thoroughly disinfected, and then sealed with a biocompatible material.

Advances in endodontic technology have made root canal procedures faster, more effective, and painless. The team at Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio are experts at administering local anesthesia and will ensure your comfort throughout treatment. General dentists sometimes send their patients to Dr. Davis and Dr. Schwartz to perform local anesthesia for patients who are particularly difficult to numb.

In some cases, your general dentist will recommend a crown after the root canal treatment to provide protection and support of the tooth. 

How should I take care of my teeth after endodontic treatment?

After the numbness wears off after a procedure, you may have some tenderness for a couple of days. Chewing with that tooth should be avoided while it is tender. Some patients take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories during that time to relieve soreness. You should continue to brush and floss during that time, but be careful of the recently treated tooth for a few days.

Call Endodontic Consultants of San Antonio today for state-of-the-art endodontic treatment.