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What is an endodontist?

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What do endodontists do?

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Endodontist explained

Dr. Sarah explains everything you need to know
about endodontics services at the dentist

Endodontics (AKA root canals) is one of the most delicate and highly specialized branches of dentistry. Our teeth are formed with layers, the innermost layer is known as the tooth nerve (or the pulp), which is the sensitive part of the teeth. As the pulp gets inflamed (known as pulpitis), you start to feel severe pain, and that’s when you probably need a root canal.


Who needs root canal treatments?

Root canals are required when the nerve of your tooth gets inflamed beyond repair. That comes along with some tell-tale symptoms such as:

  • Severe pain: The pulp is the most sensitive part of the tooth, so when bacteria invade it and it gets inflamed, you would start to feel sever pain that doesn’t seem to go away even with pain killers.
  • Swelling: A swelling beneath the tooth or in the gums is a sign of infection. This happens when the inflammation has been present without treatment for a while.
  • Tooth fracture: A tooth can get fractured due to severe decay that was left untreated, or due to trauma. In either case, the nerve of the tooth could get exposed, requiring root canal treatment and probably a crown to cover the tooth later-on.
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How do root canal procedures go?

After numbing the area, all the decay must be removed with a dental turbine. The nerve of the tooth is then exposed with the turbine, so that the endodontist would gain access to the root canal system. The canals are then cleaned using small, thin instruments similar to needles known as files, which clean out the entire canal leaving it hollow and clean. The empty canals are then irrigated to remove all the debris and remnants, and finally, the endodontist will introduce a specialized filling so that the canals don’t trap food remnants and bacteria.

After sealing the tooth with a filling, you will probably need a crown to further protect the tooth from biting forces.

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How can I find the best endodontist near me?

While endodontics is a highly difficult specialty, it is one that is widely spread among dentists. A lot of dentists focus on that particular specialty, and it is fairly easy to find a specialist near you. What you need to look for is someone with a proven track record, which you can check for on that endodontist’s website or social media accounts. Reviews are a great way to denote how talented that endodontist is, as well as how comfortable his demeanor and his practice is. Another aspect to look for is also location. Root canal treatments usually take 2 or 3 visits to complete, so it is only common sense that you find an endodontist whose office is close to where you live.

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How much does an endodontist cost?

The cost of root canals depend on several factors, such as the location of the tooth, how many nerve canals it has, how difficult the case is, how many visits it would take, and what technique the endodontist will use. On average, root canals cost between $750 and $2500.

Most private health insurances policies will pay towards a small portion of your root canal treatment but never the total amount (with the exception of a few industry health insurance companies)  It is wise to get a detailed quote from the endodontist and contact your health insurance company to find out your rebate amounts prior to treatment so there aren’t any surprises when you come to pay for treatment. 

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How does AirSmile help find the right dentist for endodontics treatments?



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Get even more savvy with our FAQ'S

Understanding your condition is the key to making the right choices for you


An endodontist is a dentist specializing in endodontics, also known as root canals. Most endodontists go above and beyond in their training to obtain their certification, and focus mainly on root canals, abandoning other forms of general dental treatments.

Most general surgeons are highly qualified to perform root canals successfully. However, in some difficult cases, your dentist would refer you to an endodontic specialist.

General dentists perform all sorts of dental treatments, including cleaning, filling, extraction and even simple cases of root canals. Endodontists are more specialized, so they can handle the difficult cases of root canals, which need specialized equipment and extra care.

Symptoms of inflamed tooth nerve include severe, unrelenting pain, swelling beneath the tooth or in the gums, a sense of mobility in the tooth, and when the tooth breaks either from decay or from trauma.

An endodontist is a specialist who focuses mainly on root canal treatments. While some elect to continue performing other general dentistry procedures like fillings and extractions, most try to pour all their focus on root canals.

Endodontics is a highly delicate specialty, but one that is also wide spread among dentists. A simple google search for an endodontist near your location could render up a few results. All you need to do then is do some homework regarding how good and how experienced that endodontist is. 

Reviews are a great way to judge other patients’ experience with a particular orthodontist. In addition, a simple search through that endodontist website could give you all the information you need regarding his credentials and experience.

In most cases, your family dentist will be more than equipped to perform a successful root canal treatment. However, in some cases, the situation needs the eyes and hands of a highly educated specialist, one who has seen and treated more cases than your general dentist. Such cases include sever infection of the pulp, abnormal anatomy of the canals, or when the tooth is situated in a precarious position requiring highly specialized equipment to access it properly.


An endodontist is a dentist specializing in root canals. Since that branch is very delicate, it needs someone with extra care for details, and a very keen eye to be able to navigate such a delicate structure. While general dentists can successfully perform root canal treatments, endodontists spend years of training beyond dental school, focusing solely on endodontics and mostly abandoning other forms of dental treatments, pouring all their knowledge and hard work into their specialty.

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