Endodontists are highly trained professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating complex causes of dental, oral, and facial pain. To evaluate the sensitivity of a tooth, they may use hot or cold swabs that touch the affected area. Additionally, they may use a non-invasive method called laser Doppler flowmetry to determine the blood flow in the pulp. This technique involves projecting an infrared light beam onto the tissue to be analyzed, which scatters through the pulp tissue.
Depending on whether the light frequency changes or not, the dentist can determine if there is blood flow or if the tissue is static. Another test that an endodontist may perform is tapping each tooth with a small diameter, light and blunt instrument. This helps to identify which teeth are tender or painful when struck. If a tooth is sensitive or hypersensitive to knocking, this can be an indication of inflammation in the surrounding tissue.
The cold test evaluates the proper functioning of dental nerves. A coolant sprayed on a cotton pellet is often placed on a tooth to evaluate normal functioning. A healthy dental nerve will feel slight discomfort from the cold and will return to normal when the cold tablet is removed. By using their diagnostic skills and information obtained from the patient, an endodontist can determine the source of dental pain and decide on the best course of treatment for any dental disease.
If you are experiencing any kind of tooth pain, you can perform several tests at home to determine if you should see an endodontist. Make sure to take note of the results of each test and which individual teeth were affected so that you can provide specific information to your endodontist. If your pain is due to an infection of the pulp and tooth canal, you will need to see an endodontist for root canal treatment.