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What is an Endodontist?

what is an endodontist

If you’re experiencing tooth pain, sensitivity, or swelling, you may need endodontic treatment to save your tooth and prevent further damage. Especially if you see an active abscess. Endodontists are root canal experts and sometimes perform treatments in a specialty clinic rather than your family dental practice. 

But what exactly is an endodontist – and how can they help you? 

Read on to understand what endodontists are and how they differ from other types of dental professionals, as well as what you need to know about choosing the right endodontist for your needs.

What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Endodontist?

Dentists are general dental practitioners who provide a wide range of dental services, from routine cleanings and fillings to more complex procedures like bridges and crowns. They also offer endodontic treatments such as root canals

Endodontists, on the other hand, are specialists who focus specifically on treating the pulp and nerve of the tooth. This includes diagnosing and treating conditions like abscesses, pulpitis, and necrosis – as well as performing root canal procedures, root canal re-treatments, apicoectomies, etc. 

An endodontist specializes in root canal treatments, but they do not offer general services such as fillings or crowns (you would need to return to your general dentist to get a crown after your root canal.)

Do I Need a Referral to See an Endodontist?

In most cases, you do not need a referral to see an endodontist. However, it’s always a good idea to check with your general dentist first to determine whether endodontic treatment is necessary and to get a referral if needed. 

Your general dentist may also provide recommendations for a reputable endodontist in your area and send your records, along with their notes, for the specialist to reference during your evaluation. 

Can Any Dentist Perform an Endodontic Procedure?

While any licensed dentist can perform a root canal procedure, endodontists have received advanced training in managing the nerves and root canal system inside of the tooth. 

They also have advanced resources and technology specifically designed for endodontic procedures. This makes them particularly skilled and experienced in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the pulp and nerve of the tooth, particularly in unique scenarios where re-treatments, narrow nerve canals, or twisted/curved roots are involved. 

Periodontist vs. Endodontist vs. Dentist

While both periodontists and endodontists are specialists, they have different areas of focus. Periodontists specialize in the treatment of the gum tissues and supporting structures of the tooth, while endodontists focus on the nerve inside of the tooth. Both specialists work closely with general dentists and may provide referrals to one another as needed to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. 

General dentists, on the other hand, provide all of these services under one roof, managing straightforward cases in their practice rather than referring them to an outside specialist. 

Choosing a Root Canal Dentist

When choosing a root canal dentist, it’s important to consider the following factors:

Education and training: Look for an endodontist or dentist who has received advanced education and training in endodontics and has a strong understanding of more advanced root canal procedures. 

Experience: Choose a dentist or endodontist who has extensive experience in performing root canal therapies and treating conditions affecting the pulp and nerve of the tooth.

Technology and equipment: Look for a dentist who has access to the latest technology and equipment to ensure accurate diagnosis and treatment, minimizing the risk of complications, and improving the overall outcome of your treatment.

Patient reviews and recommendations: Consider reading reviews from other patients and ask your dentist for recommendations to help you find an endodontist who is well-respected and highly regarded by their peers.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root canals help preserve natural teeth. The procedure is designed to remove an infected or dying nerve from inside the tooth and prevent further damage, decay, or tooth loss. Endodontic therapy is important for several reasons, including:

It Saves the Natural Tooth

Endodontic therapy can save a natural tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. Extractions can cause a series of complications, including shifting teeth, increased risk of bone loss, and the need for artificial replacements such as bridges or implants.

Root Canals Prevent Spread of Infection

When the pulp of a tooth becomes abscessed or infected, it can spread to other areas of the mouth and cause further infections. Endodontic therapy removes the infected tissue and stops the spread of infection, helping to preserve the overall health of your smile.

They Reduce Tooth Pain and Sensitivity

Endodontic therapy can relieve the pain and sensitivity that often accompany a dying or infected pulp. This can restore comfort and make it easier to eat, drink, and speak. Root canals treat the source of tooth pain rather than cause additional discomfort. Even if the pain of your dental abscess goes away over time, the internal infection and tooth damage won’t. 

Maintains Bite Balance and Alignment

Extracting a tooth can throw your bite “off,” leading to problems such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, worn enamel, tilted or shifting teeth, and other bite-related issues. Endodontic therapy helps preserve the natural tooth, maintaining the balance of the bite’s ideal alignment and reducing the risk of future problems.

Improves Aesthetics

Endodontic therapy helps preserve the natural tooth, which can improve the appearance of your smile. After a root canal, most teeth are reinforced with a protective dental crown to ensure they hold up to everyday biting and chewing pressures. Our dentist can match your crown to the color of your adjacent teeth. 

Endodontic Dental Treatment in NJ

Endodontic therapy is a crucial procedure for preserving natural teeth and maintaining overall oral health, not to mention eliminating painful dental abscesses. If you are experiencing pain, sensitivity, or swelling in a tooth, it’s important to see a dental professional to determine whether endodontic therapy is necessary. 

At Canal Vista Family Dental in Princeton, NJ, Dr. Bestandji is highly trained and experienced in providing quality endodontic care to help you save your natural teeth and restore your oral health. Contact our office today to reserve your next exam!

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