General Dentists Vs Endodontists; Which One Should You Choose
Similar to how we have doctors and specialists like pediatricians, we have dentists and dental specialists such as endodontists. While all endodontists are dentists, only about three percent of dentists are specialists in diagnosing tooth pain.
Who are General Dentists and Endodontists?
A general dentist is your first point of contact or your primary dental healthcare provider. Whenever you have a toothache, gum bleeding, or swollen gums, you will visit a general dentist for a proper assessment and treatment. Furthermore, they are the ones who refer you to an endodontist or other dental specialists.
An endodontist is a dentist who has specialized in diagnosing and treating tooth pain and minimizing the risk of losing teeth.
How Do They Differ?
Dentists and endodontists differ in two ways; the expertise and the type of treatments offered.
The expertise and experience
All dentists undergo basic undergraduate dental education, which establishes the foundation of their practice. After that, they can specialize by getting additional education and training, as is the case with endodontists. They get a two or three-year post-training where they learn about the diseases that affect the dental pulp and how to treat them.
Types of Treatments Given
These two dental specialists have overlapping practice areas, meaning they can perform similar treatments. However, in general, they are different and treat specific conditions.
- General dentists
Your general dentist, who most of the time doubles as your family dentist, offers treatments that are geared to prevent dental problems. However, they also offer procedures that improve your smile and dental appearance.
Some of the treatments that the general dentist can offer include:
- Preventive dental procedures. The primary goal of preventive procedures is to preserve your teeth and oral health. Professional teeth cleaning and routine checkups are the most recommended preventive dental procedures. Other treatments that the dentists perform include fluoride treatment that is done to strengthen enamel and prevent decay. Dental sealants are also provided for children who are at risk of developing cavities.
- • Restorative dental treatments. These treatments are geared to restore the integrity and function of the teeth. Some of the restorative procedures include tooth fillings that are used to replaced decayed parts with the fillings. A root canal and extraction can be done if you have extensive decay.
- • Cosmetic dental procedures. If you have crooked, cracked, or chipped teeth, the dentist can recommend several cosmetic procedures to help correct the smile. Veneers, dental crowns, bonding, teeth whitening, and gum reshaping are some of the procedures done.
Endodontists primarily focus on treatments that can save your teeth.
- Root canal therapy. Although a general dentist can perform a root canal, the procedure is best done by an endodontic specialist. It is said that while a general dentist does two root canals, an endodontist does 25 in a week. Root canal therapy is the process of removing the infected pulp to stop the spread of the infection and save the teeth from extraction.
- Endodontic surgery. At times a root canal is not enough to save your teeth, and the endodontist will perform an endodontic surgery. The procedure often involves removing undetected canals and treating small fractures.
- Endodontic retreatment. If you have improperly fixed fillings or multiple canals, the root canal procedure may fail and reinfection can occur. The dentist will perform endodontic retreatment to reduce pain and promote healing of the gums and soft tissues.
- Traumatic dental injury treatment. A traumatic teeth injury occurs after an accident or a fall. You can get examined by a dentist or an endodontist. However, if the surrounding teeth are affected, the endodontic specialists will use advanced equipment to save the teeth and preserve the integrity of your jaw.
- Dental implant surgery. When you have missing teeth, the dentist may recommend implants to support the artificial teeth. These are metal posts fixed surgically on the jaws.
Which One Should You Choose?
If you need professional cleaning and routine checkup, a general dentist will be a perfect choice. The dentist can, however, refer you to an endodontist if you have infected pulp and tooth pain.
Visit Tri-Cities Dental Specialists for more information about our general and endodontic services.