What’s the dif­fer­ence between a den­tist and an endodontist?

Curi­ous about the dif­fer­ence between a den­tist and an endodon­tist? You’re not alone. The dif­fer­ence in job titles often con­fus­es patients and can lead you to won­der if you’ve been referred to the right per­son. It could also make you ques­tion if the per­son car­ry­ing out your treat­ment is qual­i­fied to do so.

To help put your mind at ease, we’re going to explain the differences between a dentist and an endodontist, so you can feel more confident at the dentist. Often, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way to helping you to understand the treatment plan and your referral. Read on to learn more about the main differences between a dentist and an endodontist, and what each one can help you with.

What is the difference between a dentist and an endodontist?

First things first, it’s important to note that all endodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are endodontists. Basically, an endodontist is someone who has gone through the required training to become a qualified dentist, and then chosen to undergo additional training to specialise as an endodontist.

Endodontists are specialists in the soft tissue and the roots of the teeth. They are most commonly known for carrying out root canals when you have a painful infection. This is one reason that people often fear a referral to the endodontist.

What does an endodontist do?

An endodontist is specially trained to treat conditions affecting the soft part inside your tooth. They also treat conditions that impact the tooth roots. They are best known for root canal treatment, but they also help to diagnose and treat cracked tooth roots. They might also carry out a treatment known as apical surgery. With this treatment, they surgically remove the tip of the tooth root.

The majority of treatments provided by an endodontist are last resorts that will help to preserve the natural root and avoid an extraction. While the treatments they carry out might have a bar reputation, it’s vital to remember that they are all in your best interest.

Why have I been referred to an endodontist?

If you have been referred to an endodontist, don’t panic. This is a normal procedure that might happen if your usual dentist has decided they would like a specialist’s opinion. Most dentists will handle simple root canals on their own, but some prefer to refer these treatments to an endodontist, if they have one easily available to them on their team.

Your usual dentist might also refer you to a specialist if the problem tooth is particularly complex. Some teeth have up to three roots, and these can be quite difficult to navigate with narrow and winding sections. Rather than risk a failed root canal treatment, your dentist might refer the treatment to a specialist.

Should I be worried about my root canal treatment?

Root canal therapy has a bad reputation, but it doesn’t need to be this way anymore. One common reason that root canal treatment is often thought of as a painful treatment is that it is often carried out on “hot” teeth. This means there is an active infection, which leads to inflammation, which causes the pain.

In the past, dentists struggled to achieve the right level of numbing around an infected tooth, which led to treatments that were more uncomfortable than they needed to be. Today, we have come a long way in local anaesthetic administration. This means we have more success in fully numbing a tooth, even when there is an active infection.

This is why you rarely hear about modern root canals being painful, but everyone hangs on to the belief that it is a painful treatment. If you’re concerned about your treatment, don’t put it off or avoid it. This will lead to the infection getting much worse, and this could mean that a root canal is no longer an option. When we reach this point, the only path forward is an extraction.

If you’re concerned about your root canal treatment or your referral, we recommend speaking to your dentist so they can help to put your mind at ease, you’ll soon see that there is no reason to fear root canal treatment.

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The Implant and Cosmetic Smiles Clinic

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Houghton Reg­is, 

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