When it comes to undergoing root canal treatment, the field of dentistry offers two options. Your regular dentist can do the work on your teeth or a specialist. The formal term for a root canal specialist is “endodontist.” One of the main reasons people choose to see general dentists over endodontists for their root canal treatment is cost, but this isn't always as much savings as you might think. Like endodontists, they practice a certain area of dental care and can receive referrals from general dentists.
While a dentist does several things, such as cleaning teeth, filling cavities, and placing sealants, endodontists do one thing to treat tooth pain. Seeing the right person, whether it's your dentist or endodontist, can ensure you get the right treatment and recover quickly. Ideally, your dentist and endodontist will work together to address dental problems and preserve your long-term dental health. In general, an endodontist should limit the scope of his practice to only performing root canal (and associated) procedures.
When you factor in the higher success rate and shorter treatment time (usually 1 hour) at the endodontist, it starts to seem like a pretty good value. Endodontists have the experience and a higher level of training in root canal treatments, so they may charge more than a general dentist to perform a procedure. My dentist has offered me the option of doing it in a few days or waiting 3 weeks to see a specialist endodontist. And as described on this page, while you can't go wrong in choosing to have an endodontist perform your tooth treatment, your level of training and skill isn't necessary for every case.
While it is entirely possible for many general dentists to perform very acceptable root canal treatments, endodontists receive two to three years of additional education, specializing in the study of diseases and treatment of dental pulp. In fact, an endodontist's primary goal is to save teeth, which often limits their practice to endodontic procedures and performs an average of 25 root canal treatments per week. For example, your endodontist may focus on saving your tooth while a general dentist cares about your brushing and flossing habits. All together, the above factors generally mean that an endodontist is very knowledgeable about what they do and is quite adept at doing it.
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