What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And An Endodontist? | Southwest Endodontics
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What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And An Endodontist?

what is the difference between a dentist and an endodontist

What Is The Difference Between A Dentist And An Endodontist?

Key Takeaways:

    Specialization Focus: Dentists’ primary goal is to preserve the health and integrity of the outer parts of teeth by providing services like fillings, extractions, crowns, and cosmetic treatments. Endodontists specialize in treating the interior parts of teeth and treating issues in their root canals; performing procedures like root canal therapy and apicoectomy to preserve natural teeth.

    Treatment Methods: Endodontists specialize in both surgical and non-invasive solutions for dental issues, with their focus being to save natural teeth by correcting problems in their canals. Dentists typically offer less frequent root canal services and tend to favor extractions as a solution to dental issues.

    Education and Expertise: Endodontists go through additional specialized training following graduation from dental school, often spending up to three years studying endodontics. Endodontists rely on advanced technologies and devices, including operating microscopes and devices like the Gentlewave system, to optimize patient results while providing more effective, pain-free treatments.

By knowing the differences between dentists and endodontists, patients can make more informed decisions regarding their dental care and ensure they receive treatment that best fits their specific needs.

Dentists and endodontists play essential roles in helping you to have a healthy smile. However, they are very different in how they can help you to achieve that smile. Knowing which expert to visit can ensure that you get the proper care as quickly as possible.

How Are Endodontists and Dentists Similar?

Both endodontists and dentists treat the teeth and problems that may occur to impact the pain-free functioning of your smile. Dentists and endodontists both had the same dental education. Endodontists, however, had more specialty training after earning their dental degrees.

To diagnose issues, both dentists and endodontists may take X-rays or three-dimensional (3D) images of the teeth. Dentists will look for signs of decay that may be cavities, while endodontists look at tooth images to spot root canal inflammation or infection.

These professions typically offer their own slates of services. However, one overlapping procedure both professionals may perform is a root canal to stop deep decay from causing tooth loss. Not all dentists perform root canals; however, those who do perform the procedure much less often than endodontists. Per the American Academy of Endodontists (AAE), dentists typically do one or two weekly root canals, while endodontists do an average of 25. If you need a root canal, seeing an endodontist will allow you to take advantage of these specialists’ more practiced techniques and advanced tools they use for the procedures.

Despite their similarities, endodontists and dentists have significant differences that distinguish their professions.

What Is the Difference Between a Dentist and an Endodontist?

The most significant difference between dentists and endodontists is the portions of the teeth they focus their treatment on. Dentists mainly aid in preserving the health and integrity of the outer parts of the teeth. In this work, dentists fill cavities, extract teeth, place crowns, whiten teeth, and fit patients with dentures or bridges.

Endodontists treat the deepest interior parts of the tooth with surgical and non-surgical methods. Endodontists can save natural teeth by correcting problems in the canals of a tooth before decay causes severe damage.

The most well-known non-surgical treatment endodontists offer is root canal therapy. This procedure clears painful inflammation and infected matter from the tooth’s root canals. The endodontist halts the infection process by cleaning and sealing the tooth and stops dental pain at the source.

Endodontists also perform surgery on the microscopic parts of the tooth’s interior. An apicoectomy, a surgery that approaches the tooth’s root canals from the root tip instead of the crown, is another way that endodontists can reach an infection inside a tooth to save it. Cracked teeth are another area of concern for endodontists; by performing root canals or surgery, the endodontist can save a cracked tooth that might otherwise require extraction.

The differences between these professions are important when you have a dental concern. If you have tooth pain and want to avoid having the tooth pulled, see an endodontist.

Endodontists – Specialists in the Dental Field

According to the American Academy of Endodontists, all endodontists first become dentists before getting their specialization in endodontics. However, only 3% of dental professionals choose to progress to this stage. Endodontists require taking up to another three years of schooling after earning a dental degree. During this specialization stage, future endodontists learn more about diagnosing tooth pain, internal dental anatomy, performing surgery, and keeping procedures pain-free for patients.

Due to their focus on the inside of teeth, endodontists often employ technology to assist them in their work and improve patient outcomes. For example, doctors can use the Gentlewave device at Southwest Endodontics to improve root canal treatment. This system combines the power of sound and fluids to create powerful and gentle cleaning that reaches deep inside root canals without the need for inserting files into the tooth that can break. Patients who have root canals with this technology report almost no pain or minor discomfort 48 hours after their root canal. Plus, it makes the process faster and allows endodontists to perform a root canal in a single visit in most cases.

Operating microscopes are one of the other tools endodontists use to see clearly while performing both non-surgical and surgical procedures. They use these scopes to give them a better view inside the tooth while they work on the microscopic parts inside the tooth.

When you need an evaluation and treatment of dental pain, take advantage of an endodontist’s extra education and specialty tools for quality treatment to help you save a tooth.

When Should You Go to Your Dentist?

You should have a dentist whom you see twice annually for exams and cleanings. If you have gum or tooth problems or need cosmetic improvements of your teeth between visits, you can also see the dentist. These doctors help you to keep your smile healthy and looking great.

However, their goal is not always to help you preserve your natural teeth. They may give you the option to have a root canal or extraction. If you have dental pain and only want an extraction as a last resort, see an endodontist. If you are asking yourself, “Do I Need A Root Canal?” check out our blog to learn the signs and symptoms. 

When You Should See an Endodontist

Endodontists aim to let you keep your teeth and stop tooth pain. With their extra education, they can diagnose dental pain, treat cracked teeth, perform surgery, and keep you pain-free during any procedure.

If you have pain in a tooth, swelling around the gums, or a visible crack, contact an endodontist for an evaluation. At Southwest Endodontics, we help our patients with these concerns by providing the following services:

Choose Southwest Endodontics for Specialty Care in Geneva or Orland Park, IL

Knowing the right professional to call for oral health concerns makes getting pain relief easier and faster. Come see us at Southwest Endodontics for compassionate experts who will offer pain-free care. Let us help you to avoid extractions and keep your smile with endodontic care. We have two conveniently located endodontic offices in Orland Park and Geneva, IL. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.