Dental issues can arise at any time, and you may need procedures that go beyond a cavity filling or placement of a crown. When this happens, you may wonder who to go to and what the difference is between an endodontist and a dentist. Both of these professionals can provide you with exceptional dental care, but one is specialized, only offering limited services when you need them the most.
What’s the Difference Between an Endodontist and a Dentist?
Past experience with your general dentist more than likely provides you with an overview of what services can be provided in a dental office. It is here you schedule your biannual cleanings and oral exams. It is where you go to for most preventative and restorative needs, whether these are for fillings, crowns, gum disease treatment, dental implants, or dentures.
Your dentist may also offer cosmetic dentistry, providing you access to professional teeth whitening, clear aligners, and porcelain veneers to enhance your smile.
Endodontists, on the other hand, are considered specialists with a narrower practice area, focusing on one area of dental health only. More specifically, an endodontist differs from a dentist in the following ways.
There is a separate specialty in dentistry called endodontics. This specialty focuses on the soft tissues within the tooth, called the dental pulp, and what diseases and injuries can occur here. As such, the endodontist has specialized expertise in diagnosing and treating dental pain and identifying its underlying cause in the dental pulp.
The treatments you receive from an endodontist then exclusively focus on the interior sections of the tooth, which means providing root canal therapy when necessary.
Root canal therapy is needed when the root of a tooth becomes inflamed and infected. In order to stop the spread of that infection into the jawbone or other location in the body, and to end the pain you experience, the endodontist performs a root canal. An endodontist can also treat dental abscesses with root canal therapy.
An endodontist can also use root canal therapy to treat dental abscesses and as a solution for traumatic injuries, such as when a tooth is cracked. For failed root canals, the endodontist can perform an apicoectomy, which is the removal of the root tip to prevent further infection.
Following a root canal, what is left of the natural tooth will be too unstable and weak and will require a dental crown for protection. An endodontist or your dentist can complete this procedure.
In addition to undergoing the education to become a dentist, an endodontist must gain entrance into an advanced specialty program, which takes between two and three years to complete. During the course of the additional studies, an endodontist closely studies diseases that occur within the dental pulp area of the tooth and the possible ways to treat those diseases.
Specialized Pain Management Techniques and Technologies
Due to the precise nature of their specialty, endodontists train in and utilize specialized pain management techniques and technologies.
The comfort of the patient is foremost, and to manage pain, the administration of numbing medications occurs to fit the needs of each individual. The endodontist will also use a specialized device called a dental dam to isolate the tooth requiring a root canal in order to protect the rest of your mouth during the procedure.
In addition to using digital X-rays, an endodontist also utilizes advanced technologies such as 3-D imaging, endodontic microscopes, and CT scans when warranted.
Can Dentists Perform Endodontics at All?
While once the domain of specialists, today, dentists are adding this specialty to their own practice. This way, your dentist will not only identify any issues that warrant root canal therapy but will be able to provide treatment without you having to make a separate appointment with another professional.
Knowing you can accomplish all or most of your dental needs with your own dentist can provide comfort, alleviate anxiety, and provide a continual record of your overall oral health.
Bateson Dentistry strives to provide our patients with preventive care, restorations, and cosmetic dentistry needs throughout a lifetime. We also provide endodontics for those patients who require a more specialized treatment at some point in their life. Dr. Bateson has undergone the advanced education and training requirements to help patients achieve all their dental health needs and preferences.
Contact Bateson Dentistry Today for All Your Oral Health Needs
Taking care of your smile, teeth and gums is an ongoing challenge, and when you need extra help, Bateson Dentistry is here for you. We will focus on your goals, concerns, and needs and develop a treatment plan tailored specifically for you.
From biannual exams and cleanings to root canal therapy, we offer you a one-office experience for whatever your needs might be. Contact our Findlay, OH dental office today to learn more, schedule a consultation, or find out if a root canal is needed.