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What is an Endodontist?

 An Endodontist is a dentist who has undergone a minimum of two or more years of additional post graduate education.  This specialty training allows endodontists to:

  1. Perform procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.   
  2. Diagnose sources of facial pain and other related problems.

While General Dentists can perform endodontic treatments, they might choose to refer patients for a consultation for more complex diagnostic issues or more difficult cases.

What is Endodontics?

In order to understand Endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of a tooth. Teeth have several layers. The outside layer of the tooth is composed of a hard layer called enamel. Enamel is supported by an inner layer called dentin, which has at its center a soft tissue known as the pulp.

The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that are responsible for forming the surrounding dentin and enamel during tooth development. The pulp receives its nourishment supply from vessels which enter the end of the root. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not necessary for function of the tooth. The tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it even after the pulp is removed.

Why would I need endodontic therapy?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities (caries), repeated dental procedures, 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 and swelling.

Indications for treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

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.

Treats Traumatic Injuries

Pulp damage is sometimes caused by some form of facial trauma; an endodontist specializes in treating these traumatic injuries. They are specially trained in procedures for replanting teeth that have been knocked out of their sockets.

Pediatric cases

We welcome children age 6 and older in our practice and offer a full range of services for our smallest patient population.  These services include, but are not limited to:

  • Trauma management: Children, unfortunately, are the most susceptible to high impact facial trauma.  Treating these injuries in a timely fashion is critical to the long term success of the impacted teeth. At the initial appointment, Dr. Han will carefully assess the extent of damage to the teeth and determine what steps need to be taken to save the effected area.
  • Apexification is the process by which medicine is placed within an injured tooth that has not fully completed formation. The goal of this medicament to to induce root development or apical closure of the root by hard tissue deposition.
  • Apexogenesis is the process by which medicine is placed within the tooth to stimulate the end of the tooth root to close. The traumatized tooth, in this scenario, must be healthy, that is to say, not infected.

Nitrous oxide gas as well as child-oriented music and/or movies will most likely be offered during these procedures to allow for maximum patient comfort. Please make an attempt to have your child avoid eating until the anesthetic has completely worn off. All patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the consultation visit.

Saving Teeth

The Endodontist removes the inflammed 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 30-90 minutes (depending on the number of canals). Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for permanent reconstruction. The restoration of the tooth is an important part of treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth, and restores it to function.

The cases below are a few examples of Dr. Han's work.

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. For the first few days after treatment, there may be some sensitivity to biting pressure and soreness, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure.  This mild discomfort will usually be alleviated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications (like Advil). On some occasions, stronger pain medications can be prescribed.

1180 Beacon Street • Suite 2B • Brookline, MA 02445

Phone: |617-277-4100 • Fax: |617-487-8386