Dentist or Endodontist? Who should Perform Your Root Canal Procedure

team of dentistsThe natural enamel that coats teeth is the hardest substance in the body. It protects teeth from impact damage from an injury or eating hard food. Despite its durability, however, enamel is no match against infection.

When cracks form at the crown of a tooth, or if the gums separate from the teeth and food particles get stuck between teeth, an infection could develop and penetrate the soft tissue inside the root canal. This leads to decay and abscess, which are what dentists and endodontists remove during a root canal procedure.

But who should you approach if you need root canal therapy? Here’s a brief on what general dentists and endodontists can do for you.

First Consultation with a General Dentist

General Dentists are primary dental care providers. They perform basic dental care procedures, such as cleaning, scaling, filling, and administering dental appliances like braces, crowns, bridges, and veneers. They are the dental care professionals people go to regularly. So, when a root canal problem makes itself known (symptoms include swelling gums and face, sharp and persistent pain that intensifies when you bite down on the affected tooth), a general dentist will be the first to know about it.

General dentists are also qualified to treat root canal problems. A root canal procedure is challenging at the least, but a competent general dentist should be able to execute it.

There are times, however, when a general dentist would judge a root canal case to be too difficult and beyond his or her experience. Root canal treatment involves the jawbone and the nerve, and your dentist might not have the skill or equipment necessary to perform the procedure. He or she will then refer you to an endodontist, a specialist for root canal therapy, rather than attempt the procedure and risk doing more damage to your tooth.

Specialized Dental Care with an Endodontist

Endodontists are specialists for the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and injury to the dental pulp and nerve. They are the best people to perform severe root canal treatments, including surgical procedures. They have higher qualifications than general dentists because, on top of the general dentistry education, they also have two to three more years of extended study, training, and graduate school where they focus on performing endodontic procedures.

Besides having the education, training, and clinical experience, endodontists are also more equipped to perform root canal procedures. Creekside Endodontics, for instance, is equipped with advanced equipment that is a cut above what most people see in general dental clinics. We invest in the latest dental technology because it enables us to provide quality dental care services, especially to patients looking for root canal treatment in Littleton, Colorado.

My Dentist Referred Me to an Endodontist. What Next?

It is standard procedure for dentists and endodontists to work together on administering care for referred root canal patients. Creekside Endodontists will study your case and discuss a treatment plan with you. Dr. Andrew Stubbs, our head endodontist, takes a conservative approach to root canal treatment. We keep the treatment simple and non-surgical as much as possible. If, however, your case requires endodontic surgery or apicoectomy, we can perform these procedures.

Our resident endodontist will be happy to discuss your options so you can move forward with the treatment as soon as possible. Visit our clinic at Lone Tree, Colorado or get in touch via phone or contact form.