Endodontists and general dentists are both dental experts that have different areas of focus in dentistry. While general dentists are more focused on prevention and restoration to maintain the overall health of your teeth and gums, endodontists are specialists that focus solely on the health of the inside of your tooth, known as the dental pulp.
In this blog from ONE ENDO of Westchester Shore & Greenwich, we’re going over the difference between the two, what treatments they perform, and when you should see an endodontist vs your regular dentist.
What Does a General Dentist Do?
A regular dentist must complete a four-year program in dentistry. General dentists are responsible for maintaining the overall health of your teeth and gums. They regularly perform many preventative, restorative, and cosmetic procedures.
The most common procedures performed by a regular dentist include cleanings, oral exams, fillings, and restorative procedures such as fitting teeth with dental crowns, bridges, or dentures. They can also perform more complicated procedures such as root canals and extractions, but not as often as endodontists and it is not their specialty.
What is an Endodontist?
An endodontist is a specialist who has undergone additional education and training after their four-year dental school program. Endodontists specialize in the health of your tooth’s pulp and roots, for which they receive an additional 2-3 years of education.
Endodontic treatment involves repairing damage to the inside of the tooth, known as the tooth’s pulp. Dental pulp can be damaged due to inflammation or infection from severe decay or the tooth becoming cracked.
The most common procedure performed by endodontists is a root canal, which involves removing the damaged pulp from the tooth and filling the tooth back up with a rubber material known as gutta-percha. The tooth is then sealed and usually fitted with a dental crown to protect the vulnerable tooth from becoming damaged.
Other procedures performed by endodontists include apicoectomies (root end surgery), repairing cracked teeth, dental implant surgery, managing dental trauma, and treating root level infections.
When Should You See a Specialist?
You should visit a general dentist every 6 months to maintain good oral health and prevent the formation of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. However, some things are out of the scope of a general dentist’s expertise, one of them being root canals.
While many general dentists do offer and perform root canals, they perform them at a rate of about 2 per week in comparison to endodontists who perform about 25 a week. Your regular dentist will sometimes give you a referral to an endodontist if they think you need a specialist who has more training to perform endodontic treatment successfully.
Regular dentists and endodontists often work in tandem to ensure that you’re in good oral health. If your dentist is not comfortable or does not feel they are experienced enough to handle your root canal treatment, they may refer you to an endodontist to perform the bulk of the treatment.
Endodontists have more experience, training, advanced technology, and are also specialists in pain management. You will then likely return to your dentist for the restorative portion of the treatment, where you receive a dental crown.
Expert Endodontics at ONE ENDO of Westchester Shore & Greenwich
While it’s important to visit your regular dentist on a regular basis, issues related to the health of your tooth’s pulp should be left to specialists in endodontics. Our additional years of education, training, experience, and specialized technology will increase the likelihood of successful treatment.
For endodontic procedures such as root canals, endodontic surgery, internal bleaching, or treating dental trauma, contact us at ONE ENDO. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicholas Mastroianni, Dr. Dean Saccomanno, or Dr. Michael Cotter today.