Next week, (May 7th through May 13th ), is the 11th annual Root Canal Awareness Week, a time to help spread awareness about the important role endodontists play in overall dental health. Endodontists are specialists in saving natural teeth and are referred to by general dentists when a specialist is needed for a treatment such as a root canal.
A root canal is required when the pulp found underneath the white enamel and the dentin of the tooth becomes infected. The infection can be incredibly painful and if left untreated, could result in the complete loss of the tooth. Fortunately, a root canal not only alleviates the pain and discomfort of the infection, but also saves the tooth. This is very important as saving the natural tooth with a root canal has the advantages of maintaining efficient chewing, normal biting force and sensation, natural appearance of the tooth, and protecting other teeth from wear and strain.
Most people hear the word “root canal” and correlate it to pain and fear. Associated with drills and files, root canals are one of the main reasons why up to 15 percent of Americans avoid receiving dental care, according to the American Association of Endodontists.
Despite misconceptions about the procedure, and thanks to advances in technology, modern day root canals are not something to be feared. In fact, root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it!
If you think you are alone in the endodontist chair – think again: The American Association of Endodontists reports that more than 15 million root canals are performed every year –or 41,000 a day!
A very common question patients ask is whether their dentist can perform a root canal. Some dentists do offer the service in their practice. However, the procedure is being performed more and more by endodontists as opposed to general dentists. They specialize in diagnosing tooth pain and focus primarily on the root canal. According to the American Association of Endodontist, less than 3 percent of all dentists are endodontists, making them the industry LEADERS in the root canal procedure. Endodontists offer patients advantages such as experience, efficiency, availability, and the use of the most advanced technology that general dentists typically do not provide.
- Endodontists perform 25 root canal treatments each week: general dentists perform fewer than 2
- Nearly half of people surveyed would prefer root canal treatment by a specialist
- 89% of patients are satisfied after root canal treatment by an endodontist
- 9 out of 10 dental educators would seek root canal treatment from an endodontist
- 87% of general dentists say work performed by endodontists is worth the cost
A root canal procedure simply requires the cap of the tooth to be opened up so that the infected pulp can be cleaned out and disinfected. Then the tooth is filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. Once the procedure is completed, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth would. And the best part of all – another natural tooth has been saved!
Happy Root Canal Awareness Week!