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Jeffrey B. Pafford, D.M.D., M.S.
What is an Endodontist?
What is an Endodontist?

Endodontists specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy procedures involving the soft inner tissue of teeth called the pulp. In addition to performing root canal therapy, Endodontists are specially trained in diagnosis of head and neck pain. The word "endodontic" comes from the Greek words "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.


Following four years of dental school, endodontists receive two or more additional years of advanced education in the specialty of endodontics. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases. For this reason, many dentists choose to refer their patients to endodontists.


An Endodontist Treats Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by trauma to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries.  For example, an injury to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing.  Procedures called apexification and revascularization may be done to stimulate growth of an immature tooth.  An endodontist is specially trained in procedures such as these and in replanting teeth that have been displaced.

An Endodontist Diagnoses and Treats Pain

Causes of oral pain such as toothaches or cracked teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint.  Because of the vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth can be felt in another tooth and/or in the head, neck, or ear.  An endodontist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats this type of pain.