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Root Canal Specialists A.A. Doering Endodontics, PLLC

Grand Rapids, MI


General Information

What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who go back to school to specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy. Therapeutic procedures, involve the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive three more years of advanced education in root canal treatment. 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.

Diagnoses and Treatment of Pain

Oral pain such as toothaches, cracked or fractured teeth can often be difficult to pinpoint. Because of vast network of nerves in the mouth, the pain of a damaged or diseased tooth often is felt in another tooth, headache, neckache, earache, and can be called referred pain. An endodontist is a specialist in diagnosing and treating this type of pain. 


Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.  


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Treatment of Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by a blow to the mouth, and the endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries. For example, a blow to a child's permanent tooth that is not fully developed can cause the root to stop growing. A procedure called apexification stimulates bone to be deposited at the end of the root which makes it possible to then save the tooth through a root canal procedure. An endodontist is specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.


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Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy? 

Root canal therapy is treatment of the infected or inflammed dental pulp (nerve) which aims at eliminating the infection, the infection source and further protecting the remaining tooth from future bacterial invasion. There are 4 basic steps; location and negociation of the canals, shaping the canals, cleaning the canals and finally filling the canals. Following root canal therapy, it is recommended to return to your dentist within 30 days for a permanent restoration of the tooth.  


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Retreatment or Surgical Root Canal

Occasionally a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment fails to heal or pain continues despite therapy. Although rare, sometimes a tooth initially responds to root canal therapy but becomes painful or diseased months or years later. When either of these situations occur, the tooth often can be maintained with a second endodontic treatment called a retreatment or surgical treatment through the gum tissues. Please speak with the Endodontist to know which treatment choice is best for you.

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Will I need to return to your office for Additional Visits?

Once endodontic therapy is completed your tooth should be examined periodically, usually every year and this is done most frequently by your general dentist. This allows us to make sure the tooth has healed or is healing properly. When dealing with resorptions, recalls are more frequent.