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The Difference Between an Endodontist and a General Dentist

The Difference Between an Endodontist and a General Dentist

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Endodontists and general dentists are both dental professionals, but they have slightly different specialties. In fact, it’s possible to be both, but to be an endodontist, you have to be a general dentist first. This is because an endodontist builds on the certifications a general dentist earns, spending an additional two years in school to learn their craft.

So which should you see, an endodontist or a general dentist? That depends on what dental issues you have.

General Dentist

General dentists perform common dental procedures such as filling cavities, fitting crowns and bridges, and assessing overall teeth and gum health. They’ll also advise patients on oral health care.

They don’t perform root canals and, in fact, only assist in the preparation and post-care check-ups. Endodontists are the ones trained to carry out this procedure.

For issues that require more serious attention and expertise, general dentists will refer patients to a more specialized practitioner such as an orthodontist, endodontist, or periodontist.

Endodontist

Endodontists, on the other hand, are trained to perform more advanced dental procedures such as root canal therapy, root canal re-treatment, and endodontic surgery.

If you need any of these treatments or have significant dental injuries, then you’ll be referred to an endodontist after meeting with a general dentist.

Seeing an endodontist over a general dentist who’s less specialized does come with advantages. They’re experts in diagnosing complex dental conditions and treating them, which is ideal when you’re seeking treatment for severe tooth pain. Their advanced education also means they’ll be more adept at treating these conditions using procedures such as root canals.

Endodontists are also experts in pain management and will be able to use numbing medications more effectively, ensuring pain is minimized before, during, and after treatment. Combined with their expertise in advanced medical technology, this allows them to provide much better treatment.

If you’ve got oral health issues that a routine checkup and cleaning can’t solve, particularly if you’re in significant pain, an endodontist may be more appropriate for you. Either way, any general dentist who believes you’ll need more advanced treatment will refer you to an endodontist for a consultation.

Root canal

How Existing Tooth Conditions Can Affect Root Canal Treatment

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“You need a root canal.” These are five words nobody wants to hear from their dentist. Sometimes, though, a root canal is necessary. 

If you have severe tooth decay, a root canal procedure will help to prevent infection from spreading. 

The procedure might not be particularly pleasant. However, the results that it can provide are well worth it for most people.

That being said, some people experience better results from root canals than others. There are a lot of factors that can influence the effectiveness of this treatment, including existing tooth conditions.

Read on to learn how existing tooth conditions can affect root canal treatment.

Tooth Types

Certain tooth types respond better to root canal treatments.

Teeth that have just one root are often easier to treat. Teeth that have multiple roots, on the other hand, are more difficult. They also often require the use of special equipment and techniques. 

It’s not impossible to treat a tooth that has multiple roots. The process just takes extra time and skill in most cases — your dentist might even recommend you to a specialist.

Lingering Infection

Dentists sometimes have a difficult time clearing out infection all the way when they’re performing a root canal procedure. When they’re working on certain teeth — such as the back molars — it can be easy to overlook an infection altogether. 

If this happens, the infection can continue to spread and cause additional oral health problems (and other health problems).

Disease Progressions

The longer an infection has progressed and an individual has gone without dental care, the more difficult it is to perform root canal procedures. \

Sometimes, the infection spreads so much that the patient doesn’t respond well to the medications used to numb them. As a result, the procedure is more painful and the patient takes longer to make a full recovery. 

This is why it’s important to see a dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and make an appointment right away if you start experiencing pain or any other problematic symptoms.

Age

Finally, age can play a role in root canal treatment, too. Older patients with aging teeth may experience more pain and discomfort during and after the procedure.

Their teeth may be more prone to damage, too, as a result of them being older and more brittle. Because of this, dentists may have to apply crowns to try and add an extra layer of protection.

Should You Still Seek Root Canal Treatment?

As you can see, there are a few different factors that can influence the effectiveness of your root canal treatment. 

This knowledge can be a bit daunting at first. You might even be wondering if it’s worth it for you to pursue a root canal. 

Some root canals are more intense than others. In most cases, though, it’s still ideal for you to have a root canal if your dentist recommends it. 

Just make sure you’re working with a dentist who is thorough and understands the potential factors that might influence your treatment. 

Root canal

Debunking Common Myths About Root Canals

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Should you be scared of a root canal

To help you find out whether it is reasonable for you to fear this dental procedure, let us separate fact from fiction. 

Here are some myths and truths about root canals:

Myth 1: Root Canals Are Painful

When people are told that they need a root canal, they usually think about pain. 

However, the pain they feel is caused by an infection in the tooth, not by the root canal treatment. A root canal is done to eliminate that pain. 

The root canal procedure itself is painless. Advancements in the field of endodontics, as well as the use of effective anesthetic agents, are responsible for making this procedure relatively less painful. 

It must be noted that the objective of performing this procedure is to remove the infected pulp, which is the source of pain.

At times, people keep delaying the visit to the dentist, which causes severe infection. Though the intensity of pain is considerably reduced as the source of pain is removed, some pain may still be experienced as the effect of anesthesia wears off. 

Moreover, the inflamed tissues at the end of the tooth are still in the process of healing. The tooth may feel more sensitive, especially if there was a severe infection prior to the procedure.

This discomfort can be relieved with the help of OTC painkillers or prescription medication. It’s best to avoid chewing on the affected tooth until the crown has been fitted.

Myth 2: The Tooth Won’t Feel Pain After the Procedure

Many people believe that once they have had root canal treatment, they will no longer feel pain in the treated tooth. 

This, however, is incorrect. The tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot or cold food or beverages. 

But for a few days after treatment, the area around the tooth can be sensitive. If this happens to you, your dentist can prescribe a medicine to reduce inflammation.

Myth 3: A Root Canal Means Removing the Tooth

The whole point of root canal therapy is to try to save a tooth, not to remove it. 

Your tooth and roots are not removed. The canals are cleaned and shaped on the inside only. The nerve tissue and pulp are removed along with some of the inside part of the root to ensure all the bacteria have been removed.

Myth 4: A Root Canal is Not Required For a Dead Tooth

A tooth dies when the blood supply to the nerve inside the tooth root is cut off. This could occur due to trauma or decay. 

Though one may think that there’s no need to treat a dead tooth as it can no longer cause pain or sensitivity to temperature changes, extracting the tooth or saving it through a root canal can prevent the bacteria from multiplying inside the dead tooth and causing an oral infection.

For a root canal performed by expert orthodontists, visit NYC Endodontics. We also treat cracked teeth.

 

Reasons to Not Be Anxious about Getting a Root Canal

Reasons to Not Be Anxious about Getting a Root Canal

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It’s hard for anyone to hear the word “root canal” and not cringe. The words alone project an image of in-depth surgery, instruments poking at your mouth, and gratuitous pain for days afterward. Even though it’s done to save a tooth, some people would rather deal with the implications of a rotted canine.

However, there really is no reason to be afraid of a root canal. We’re going to jump into the three biggest reasons why you should not be so anxious about getting a root canal to put your mind at ease. First, let’s quickly define what a root canal actually is.

What is a Root Canal?

Beneath the white enamel of your teeth and the ultra-dense dentin layer, there sits a soft kind of tissue known as the pulp. The pulp tissue contains blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves that help your teeth grow during development. An adult tooth does not necessarily need pulp anymore because it can survive by using the tissues around it for nourishment. The pulp is essentially the leftover materials from the growth stages.

Sometimes abscesses or inflamed ligaments in the gums can enter the root of the tooth and cause infected or inflamed pulp. This is often extremely painful and dangerous for the rest of the teeth in one’s mouth as the infection can spread. A root canal or endodontic treatment is essentially the process of removing an extremely diseased tooth in order to prevent the spreading of disease. It is also done to scoop out the infected pulp to save the tooth itself without full removal. Millions of teeth are saved through root canals every year.
These three facts about root canals may shock you!

1. You might not experience any pain whatsoever.

Like we mentioned above, when people think of root canals, they think of pain. It makes sense why, of course. Sometimes there is pain associated with root canals. However, there’s a good chance you won’t experience any pain whatsoever.

Since the procedure for root canals has improved and changed in recent years, the approach taken often results in little pain. Before performing the surgery, your endodontist will inject a numbing anesthetic around the tooth, which at most will feel like a light prick to the gums. From there, you won’t feel much else.

2. Post-surgery pain isn’t that long lasting.

Sure, pain in surgery probably isn’t that bad. But what about afterward? Luckily, you won’t really have to worry about that either.

You may experience some discomfort after the procedure that over-the-counter pain medication can treat. You’ll more than likely be able to go back to your normal routine the next day.

3. Your tooth will be rescued!

Root canals save so many teeth. It’s really surprising how intense the myths about this procedure are when the results are so incredible!

How was our list of reasons not to be anxious about getting a root canal? Tell us about your experience with root canal procedures in the comments below!

Why You May Need to See an Endodontist

Why You May Need to See an Endodontist

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You already know that it’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups. In addition to giving your teeth a thorough cleaning, regular checkups allow the dentist to check for signs of gum disease, cavities, oral diseases, and oral cancer.

And many times, when minor issues come up, your regular dentist can handle those. Like getting a cavity filled or a tooth extracted.

But sometimes you need a specialist and that’s where endodontists may come in.

This article covers what an endodontist is and why you might see one for a tooth problem. Read on to get information that could save your teeth.

What is an Endodontist?

An endodontist is a specialist who is qualified to diagnose and manage tooth pain, tooth restoration and root canals.

Although endodontists are known as root canal specialists, their extra training actually covers multiple procedures related to tooth roots and interiors.

Because the nerves are on the inside of a tooth, that’s where tooth pain comes from. An endodontist can better diagnose and treat painful tooth issue because of their knowledge of tooth interiors.

Why see an Endodontist?

It’s not uncommon to see a specialist for bodily health needs, so it should be no surprise that there are specialists for your teeth and gums. After all, orthodontists are specialists who specialize in tooth alignment and oral bone structure.

Endodontists are skilled in a variety of tooth surgeries. And if you treat an issue early on, it’s much more likely that you’ll be able to keep the affected tooth or teeth.
In addition to root canals, endodontists treat traumatic dental injuries, such as from sports, falls, or car accidents.

They also place dental implants. Although they try to save natural teeth as often as they can, they do have other options when that’s not possible or not the best course of action.
You may be wondering why you need a specialist when your regular dentist provides these procedures. Practice increases skill in any field, and an endodontist performs root canal procedures about 25 times per week. General dentists typically only perform a couple of these procedures a week.

You’ll be getting more experience and specialized knowledge in pain management, which honestly is a big deal when it comes to any procedure.

If you’re having tooth pain, make an appointment with NYC Endodontics today.

Benefits of Endodontics

3 Benefits of Endodontics

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Endodontics is a lesser known area of dentistry and, as a result, many folks are unsure of its overarching purposes.

In short, endodontics is a branch of dentistry that concerns itself with the treatment of diseases and injuries which occur in the soft tissues inside a tooth (also referred to as dental pulp).

Your friendly neighborhood endodontist specializes in the removal of inflamed, infected dental pulp. They’ll fully clean the canal system while sealing the tooth so no further infection can take place. The procedure mentioned above just so happens to be the Root Canal procedure, which is the best known treatment an endodontist performs.

An endodontist can also help treat teeth that are cracked or have experienced trauma due to injury — all in the name of saving your natural smile.

Below are a few benefits you can glean from seeing the endodontist.

1.) Rid Yourself of Unwanted Tooth Pain

If you’re experiencing a toothache there are often only 2 ways to deal with the problem: either endodontic therapy or tooth extraction. Endodontics always aims to be as conservative as possible and to save as much natural tooth structure as possible. Root canal therapy has saved many teeth for patients not wanting to undergo a tooth extraction.

2.) Maintain your Bone and Jaw Structure

If you lose teeth, this means that your jaw bone isn’t getting proper stimulation in that area, which can lead to further tooth and bone loss. Endodontics will keep your natural tooth in place, which helps preserve the natural shape and curvature of your jaw and face.

3.) Endodontics is Safe and Effective

Root canal procedures alone have been done for decades and they are a routine procedure we specialize in at NYC Endodontics. We work hard to remove any infected pulp and seal the tooth to greatly reduce chances of further infection. We help prevent tooth loss and tooth removal in a safe, clean, and supportive environment.

If you have any additional questions about how endodontics can possibly benefit you, contact NYC Endodontics today. We’ll schedule your initial consultation and help put you back on the footpath to amazing oral health!

Happy Couple Smiling

3 Health Conditions Linked to Periodontal Disease

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Gum disease is widely known to cause problems beyond aesthetic. In fact, more and more studies keep finding that periodontitis and bacteria that infect the mouth have far wider reaching consequences that spread throughout the body.

Below are a few health conditions that have been shown to be linked to gum disease, which serve as a few more reminders and reasons for everyone to stay on top of their oral health. After all, your oral health in closely linked to your overall health.

1.) Diabetes

Diabetes has an inextricable link to gum disease because patients who have poor blood sugar control are more susceptible to getting diabetes and gum disease. Bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugars, which includes glucose, the sugar primarily linked to diabetes. High levels of glucose and other sugars in the mouth set the stage for diabetes and gum disease.

2.) Heart Disease

Inflammation, which is one of the telltale signs of gum disease, can lead to infected pockets in the mouth, which allows for bacteria to spread, one of which is Streptococcus sanguis, which is a bacteria found in periodontal disease and a bacteria that plays a role in heart disease and stroke.

3.) Alzheimer’s Disease

A paper published by peer-reviewed journal Science Advances recently suggested that Alzheimer’s disease could be linked to gum disease and infection. Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria found in periodontal disease, can spread and destroy gum tissue and move on to colonize the brain, increasing the production of amyloid beta, one of the plaques that are associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

If you have any questions about gum disease and how to treat it, contact NYC Endodontics today to schedule your consultation. We’ll help you treat any oral health problems you live with now and help you avoid any costlier problems that can occur down the road from neglecting your teeth and gums. We’re now treating patients in New York, NY and its surrounding communities.

Woman with Healthy Teeth

5 Common Causes of Cracked Teeth

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Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our bodies, we often see some unfortunate souls who suffer from chipped, cracked, or broken teeth. Generally, it takes a sizeable amount of tooth trauma to chip, crack, or break our teeth, but there are also situations where someone was hit a certain way with just the right amount of force that results in severely damaged teeth.

Below are some of the most common causes of chipped or cracked teeth. At NYC Endodontics we believe just as much in preventive dentistry as we believe in providing comprehensive care in the event our patients experience a damaged tooth.

1. Piercings

It’s true for tongue and mouth piercings in particular. Those hip piercings you’re thinking about getting can do a number on your tooth enamel. Think about it, having a hard metal object hit and rub against your teeth isn’t good for your grill.

2. Chewing on Hard Foods

This especially counts for ice and any sort of hard candy, especially jawbreakers! When you chew on ice and other extremely hard foods, you’re putting a tremendous amount of pressure on your teeth.

3. Using Your Teeth as a Bottle Opener

Please, just stop doing this, people! Your teeth were not made to open beer and soda bottles. What might start out as a fun party trick that gets you attention could end up getting you the wrong sort of attention — there have been many social media videos of people breaking their teeth doing reckless acts, even as seemingly innocuous as opening a bottle top with their teeth.

4. Sports and Extreme Activities

Basketball, combat sports, snowboarding, skateboarding — what do they all have in common? They’re risky for your teeth. Make sure you always wear a mouthguard while engaging in sports and activities that come with a risk for your teeth. Some of them require it!

5. Having a Misaligned Bite

If your bite is misaligned, this means that some of your teeth will be subject to far more force than others. The importance having having a good bite is not only aesthetic, it’s also functional.

If you experience a chipped, cracked, or broken tooth, please contact NYC Endodontics immediately. We have a long track record of repairing damaged teeth through root canals and additional procedures. Now serving the Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan areas!

3 Qualities to Look for in an Endodontist

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Endodontics is one of the nine specialty areas in dentistry that are recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).

An Endodontist is a dentist who focuses exclusively on treating issues affecting dental pulp – the inner part of a tooth composed of living connective tissue and cells. The most common endodontic procedure is the root canal. Because of the difficulty of working inside the tooth, special training is required to become an endodontist. While all endodontists are dentists, only three percent of dentists are endodontists!

For patients seeking specialized dental treatment, here are three qualities to look for in an endodontist:

1. ADA-Accredited Training and Board Certification

To practice endodontics, a specialist must complete first four years at an accredited dental school, and then two additional years of specialized education at an accredited postdoctoral endodontics program. Look for a specialist who has completed all of these studies at an American Dental Association-accredited program. You may want to ask if each endodontist is a diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics – a separate, voluntary process indicating high level of dedication to patient care, ethical practices, and continuing education.

2. Offers the Latest Treatment Techniques and Technologies

Endodontists that remain on the cutting edge of their profession are making a conscience effort to continually improve their skills, and the experience and outcome of their patients. Look for endodontic practices that have invested in and practice with the latest treatment techniques and technology. Specifically inquire about the use of advanced endodontic microscopes, imaging technology, and sedation options.

3. Specializes in Your Specific Treatment Needs

Ideally you want to select and be referred to an endodontist who has built a successful practice through years of experience. A highly-experienced endodontist has often built a reputation for focusing on a particular area, or areas, of specialization within their field. For example, some endodontists focus on offering emergency dental interventions while others may dedicate almost their entire practice to performing root canals. When searching for an endodontist, be sure to ask about his or her experience performing the endodontic treatment you need.

Endodontists are specialists in saving teeth. By helping you keep your natural teeth, you are spared additional interventions such as dental implants, bridges, or dentures. If you are in need of endodontic treatment, contact New York City Endodontics to schedule you consultation and let us help you enjoy a restored, happy, healthy smile.

Cracked Teeth - Causes and Treatment

Cracked Teeth – Causes and Treatment

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Teeth are incredibly strong, but they are not indestructible. Cracked teeth are a common occurrence in dentistry. Diagnosing a cracked tooth and developing an appropriate treatment plan to preserve the tooth, when possible, and ensure its longevity are critical to helping dental patients maintain their natural smile.

Causes

There are several reasons why a tooth may crack. Often, a tooth will crack if its structural integrity has already been compromised by previous trauma or invasive dental treatment. For instance, an tooth with a large filling is more prone to cracking. Grinding your teeth at night also increases the wear and tear on your teeth, increasing the chances that one may crack. Eating hard foods, such as ice or hard candy, can cause a weakened tooth to literally crack under pressure.

Some of the most common symptoms of a cracked tooth include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Pain when chewing
  • Spontaneous shooting pain
  • Excessive pain when eating sour or sweet foods

Treatment

There are many different types of cracked teeth. The treatment and outcome for your tooth depend on the type, location, and extent of the crack. In some situations, the crack in the tooth is not visible to the naked eye and can only be seen on a dental x-ray. But whether the dentist can see the crack or not, dental x-rays must be taken to examine the exact degree and location of the crack.

For minor cracks, your general dentist will be able to treat the tooth by removing the weakened area and place a filling in the tooth. For more severe cracks, your dentist may refer you for treatment by an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists specially-trained in saving diseased, damaged, or decaying teeth. If there is more than one cusp compromised, you might need a crown. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend a root canal due to the pulp of the tooth becoming damaged through the crack.

There are a number of ways to prevent cracking in teeth, such as avoiding hard foods and wearing a mouthguard while playing sports. Taking proper care of your teeth and going to the dentist for regular visits will help your keep your teeth healthy and in good shape. However, accidents do happen. In which case, if you are experiencing the symptoms of a cracked tooth, contact your dentist right away. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of a cracked tooth is essential for preventing further damage and perhaps the loss of the tooth entirely.

If you are suffering from a cracked tooth or multiple cracked teeth, schedule your appointment with New York City Endodontics today.

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