Endodontist vs Dentist: The Difference and How to Choose

Imagine your next dental check-up that your doctor finds that despite your greatest efforts, your tooth developed a cavity. You decide to avoid their advice, and you don’t make a follow-up appointment to have the tooth filled. Fast forward a handful of months, and you’re back in the dental chair with a toothache, where your doctor informs you that you need to see an endodontist. 

The first thought to your mind will probably be, what is an endodontist? Followed by a quick search of “endodontist vs dentist.” If this sounds like you, continue reading to learn about endodontics and how these doctors differ from general dentists

Endodontist Vs Dentist: What’s the Difference?

Choosing the best dentistry services can seem overwhelming with dozens of specialties. But, there is a crucial difference between an endodontist vs dentist. 

Dentists and Endodontists both receive the same education in dental care. The divergence occurs post-graduation when endodontists study for an additional two years in advanced dentistry. During this time, they become experts in endodontics, defined as the treatment and diagnosis of the interior of your tooth. 

Also, endodontists use specialized tools, such as a microscope, that can go inside your tooth, that aren’t available in a regular dental office. This allows them to find hairline fractures, which can be an “invisible” source of pain. For an endodontist, root canal therapy is the treatment they do most often.

While you may be able to answer the question, “What’s an endodontist?”, you should also know more about their specialty, the root canal.

All About Root Canals

The inner sanctum of your tooth is home to soft tissues called pulp, which surround your tooth’s root(s). Inside the roots are nerve endings and blood vessels that nourish your tooth. 

Depending on where the tooth is in your mouth, it will have at least one but up to three roots

When a tooth’s root becomes infected or injured, it will need a root canal. This happens most often because a cavity (decay) reaches the root of the tooth. Or, if you break your tooth, exposing the root, you will also need a root canal.

During the root canal, your dentist will isolate your tooth with a thin sheet of rubber, called a dental dam. Then your doctor will enter your tooth and clean out the infection, removing the pulp and root. Last, the tooth will be filled and sealed to protect it while it awaits the final phase of treatment; restoration. 

After the Root Canal

The next step after your treatment is for your doctor to create and cement your permanent crown. This is because, after a root canal, your tooth will be brittle and weak. The crown will protect your tooth from breaking and restore its function.

Choosing an Endodontist

Now that you know the difference between an endodontist vs dentist, you should know that each represents a different part of your dental health team. If you ever find yourself in need of an endodontist, your trusted general dentist is an excellent resource to rely on because they will only refer their patients to specialists of the same caliber. 

If you enjoyed this, try exploring the rest of our health section for more informative reads.