July 23, 2024

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5 Diagnostic Tests Your Endodontist May Perform to Determine Your Treatment

Principles of Endodontic Diagnosis - Decisions in Dentistry

Endodontists are trained to repair and restore the tissues inside your tooth and treat complex causes of tooth sensitivity and pain. Through root canals and other procedures, these dental experts can relieve pain and treat conditions like tooth abscesses to help save your natural tooth structure. But to do this, Compassionate Endodontics specialists must use diagnostic tools to establish the cause of infection or pain. They must consider your dental and medical history and then study your symptoms to determine why you need treatment and the type of procedure that can offer you relief. If you visit an endodontist, they may perform the following five diagnostic tests to determine how best to help you.

Establishing Complaint and Medical History

The first thing an endodontist does when you visit them with a complaint is trying to establish the reason for your visit. Also called the chief complaint, this is the symptom or symptoms that caused you to consult a dental specialist. You may be experiencing pain, sensitivity, or bleeding gums – whatever it is, your endodontist will establish this first. Next, they will ask questions to help them understand your dental and medical history. These questions may cover topics like current medication, most recent tooth extractions, pre-existing medical conditions, and more. The goal is to determine the role your medical or dental history may be playing in your current conditions and what treatments are ideal for you.

Extraoral Exam

Endodontists also often perform an extraoral exam to check for any symptoms located outside the mouth. They may study your facial symmetry, for example, to establish whether you have any swelling. Additionally, they can perform touch and visual examinations on your neck and face to establish the condition of your sinuses, lymph nodes, and more.

Intraoral Exam

Because endodontists repair the inner tissues of the teeth, much of their examination happens inside the mouth – otherwise called an intraoral exam. This is why your provider examines the soft tissues inside your mouth, including your gums, tongue, and mucous membranes. They may dry and retract your cheeks and tongues to study any unusual colors or vein patterns. Additionally, your provider will look for worrying signs like worn teeth, discoloration, bleeding gums, swelling, or sinus inflammation.

Bite and Cavity Test

Endodontists sometimes perform a bite test to determine whether a broken or chipped tooth is the cause of your pain. During this exam, they may ask you to bite on a flat device called a tooth slooth, during which they will notice your biting pressure. If you experience pain while biting or releasing the device, a bite test can help your endodontist pinpoint the affected tooth. They may also use a blunt scalpel-like tool to press into a cavity to determine pain or the lack of it.

Thermal Test

In trying to determine the cause of your tooth pain, your endodontist may perform a thermal test. This exam involves subjecting your tooth to different temperatures to study sensitivity. In one approach, your endodontist may use an irrigating syringe to spray warm water on your tooth. They can then replace the warm water with frozen carbon dioxide for a cold test. During both procedures, the rest of your teeth will be separated from the tooth being examined by a rubber dam.

Discuss Worrying Signs with Your Endodontist Today

Your endodontist is trained to treat oral infections, preserve your bone tissue, and save your tooth structure. These diagnostic tests can take them one step closer to achieving this. However, it all begins with you seeking help. So, if you experience debilitating symptoms like tooth sensitivity or pain, contact your endodontist to schedule a consultation and get a proper diagnosis for your ailment.