What is an Endodontist?

An endodontist is a dentist who has undergone a minimum of two years of extra postgraduate training. This specialized training allows them to deal with tooth pulp diseases and supporting structures to diagnose and treat facial pain and related problems.

Your general dentist sometimes refers patients for consultation when the diagnosis is complicated or when treatment is more complex than expected. Aside from providing treatment, Dr. Kell's role is also that of an educator. It is crucial that patients understand why they require treatment, what treatment involves, and what they can do to ensure the best possible outcome. Dr. Kell believes that a properly informed patient has the best chance of achieving the optimal result.

What is Endodontics?

Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its surrounding structures. Endodontists are dentists with special postgraduate training in this field. They are also experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that has been difficult to diagnose.

General dentists can perform endodontic treatment but often refer complicated cases to an endodontist.

In order to understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about tooth anatomy. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer is composed of a hard coating called enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called dentin, which has a soft tissue known as the pulp at its center. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue responsible for forming the surrounding dentin and enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels that enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is vital during tooth development, it is not necessary for tooth functioning. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of healing (>90%)! The diagnosis of treatment depends on the disease state of the pulp, the condition of the bone surrounding the roots, and the degree of inflammation of the gum at the time of treatment.

Your endodontist will discuss the healing possibilities before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision.

Why would I need Endodontic treatment?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to bacteria invasion. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, and tooth cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms that might indicate the need for endodontic treatment include:

  • Prolonged sensitivity to cold or heat.
  • Discoloration of the tooth.
  • Swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums.
  • Sometimes there are no symptoms, and diagnosis can only be made with the aid of x-rays

How Can Endodontic Treatment help me?

Diseased or inflamed pulp will never heal on its own. In the past, the only option available to patients was extraction. The primary goal of endodontists is to save your tooth. The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the canal system, and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is now performed in a single appointment ranging from 60-90 minutes (depending on the number of canals). Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for permanent reconstruction. The tooth's restoration is an integral part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to functi

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Toothache pain is the main reason for patients seeking treatment. Fortunately, modern anesthetics can make the procedure pain-free in most cases.

Seeking treatment early makes the procedure more comfortable, so don’t wait.

When caught early, treatment should feel no different than having a regular filling. There may be some sensitivity to biting pressure for the first few days after treatment, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications (like Ibuprofen) are recommended for a day or two.


What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental treatment that repairs and saves an infected tooth. A decayed or cracked tooth that goes without treatment can lead to infection of the tissues surrounding the tooth resulting in an abscess necessitating the need for a root canal. The procedure requires the nerve and blood supply of the tooth to be removed. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed. Following endodontic treatment, you will be referred back to your dentist for the restorative portion of your treatment.

How long will it take?

Endodontic treatment is usually completed in one appointment – roughly 1.5 hours. However, the complexity of the case or certain clinical situations may result in additional appointments.

Will it hurt?

Modern technology and medicine have dramatically reduced pain and discomfort; however some post-operative pain is to be expected. We will help minimize this as much as possible and help you through it along the way.

Will my dental insurance pay for this?

Most insurance plans cover up to 80% of endodontic treatment. We will submit your claim for you and your insurance company will pay us directly. You will be responsible for your balance at the time of treatment

Do you offer financing?

Yes, we accept Visa and Mastercard and we have financing options through CareCredit®

How do I prepare for my appointment?

Call us at (207) 330-2330 and our friendly and helpful staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have and make your appointment. Please bring the following to your appointment:

  • Referral slip from your dentist (if applicable)
  • Completed registration forms
  • Insurance card and form of payment
  • X-rays (if you have them)
  • List of medications you are taking
What do I do after treatment?

You must go back to your dentist after treatment for either a filling or a crown or your root canal may fail.

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