Both endodontists and dentists provide invaluable services for your teeth. In fact, during your life, you are likely to visit both. However, there are times when seeing an endodontist, or root canal specialist, will benefit you more than getting a procedure from a dentist. Here is a simple breakdown of the differences when comparing the professions of an endodontist vs. dentist.
When comparing both professions’ education, you will find a large overlap between dentists and endodontists. All endodontists start by getting their dental degrees. This process reflects that of specialist physicians who first must get their medical degree.
After finishing four years of dental school, dentists can begin to practice. However, endodontists invest another two to three years of education to specialize in their field. This extra training allows the doctors to learn about the conditions and diseases that affect the tooth’s living tissue and how to treat them.
Therefore, all endodontists have training as dentists. However, in addition to their dental training, they will have more education to care specifically for the pulp of teeth.
Dentists serve as your first line of defense for your overall oral health and any issues that may arise. You should see a dentist at least once a year for an exam and twice annually for cleanings. During your checkup, the dentist will examine the health of your teeth and gums. During these appointments, they may recommend additional treatment or suggest you see a suitable specialist to help with that unique need.
Endodontists are the specialists that dental patients visit for root canal therapy, repair of damaged teeth, and some types of endodontic surgery. While a dentist has some experience completing root canals, an endodontist has more experience with this procedure. For instance, a general dentist will only perform up to two root canal therapies a week, whereas an endodontist may do 25.
Besides more experience with root canal therapies, endodontists pride themselves on investing in advanced technology, which can better relieve pain and complete root canal treatments efficiently and with great success. General dentists may not invest in this type of equipment because they do so few root canal therapies to get enough use.
Your general dentist is a vital part of your dental health! With regular visits, the dentist can ensure that your teeth stay clean and remain healthy. Your dental insurance will likely cover the costs of preventative care from your dentist.
When you need more extensive care for the pulp of your teeth, such as a root canal or endodontic surgery, ask your dentist for a referral to an endodontist to get the best level of care for these specialty treatments.
Going to an endodontist offers several advantages over a general dentist for procedures such as root canal therapies. As noted, endodontists have more training and experience with treating conditions that affect the dental nerve.
If you have heard the myth that root canal therapies are painful, you may not have benefited from going to an endodontist for the procedure. First, root canal therapies alleviate pain caused by inflammation inside the tooth. Therefore, you should feel less pain after recovering from a root canal, not more.
Next, endodontists have extra training to know how to choose and use pain medication to the most significant benefit for the patient. Even those who have had trouble with pain from dental procedures in the past may have less pain visiting an endodontist for a root canal.
Lastly, the technology used to help endodontists perform root canal therapies can help them clean out and better disinfect the tooth’s root, preventing retreatment in the future.
Perhaps the most important advantage of seeing an endodontist is their goal to save your teeth. While a dentist will do everything possible to keep your teeth healthy, they may prematurely recommend pulling a tooth. Get a second opinion from an endodontist to see if root canal therapy or another type of endodontic treatment can allow you to keep the tooth.
Endodontists use equipment that makes seeing inside the patient’s tooth root easier. Some of the most powerful devices used in this specialty are for imaging. For instance, three-dimensional imaging augments traditional x-rays to make it easier to see all around the affected tooth. Operating microscopes used during root canal therapies and surgeries ensure the endodontist has the clearest view of the smallest spaces inside the tooth.
You absolutely do not need a referral to see an endodontist. While your general dentist may refer you to one they trust, it is not a requirement for you to be seen. If you are told that you need a root canal, see a specialist who can complete this treatment thoroughly and pain-free.
When it comes to gently and effectively treating dental tooth pain and helping you save your tooth, an endodontist is a valuable part of your dental team! If you would like to find out more about our practice in the Charleston, SC area, contact us online. We can also help your dentist through the referral process if they want to use our online system. We can’t wait to provide you with the specialty treatment only an endodontist can provide.