IT MIGHT SEEM more convenient to just get a root canal taken care of by the general dentist, but endodontists have far more training and experience. They study for two additional years after dental school and they are much more familiar with the techniques and tools required for root canal therapy. Patients will get a much more comfortable and streamlined procedure with an endodontist, not to mention more reliable results.
Weekly Experience Makes a Difference
Just how much more experience do endodontists have at performing root canal therapy than general dentists? According to the American Association of Endodontics, the average endodontist performs 25 root canals every week, while the average general dentist only does two. That compounds very quickly.
Endodontics Is More Than Root Canals
Beyond basic root canal therapy, the endodontist is the overall expert when it comes to saving teeth. An endodontist can repair a tooth with a poorly healed root canal procedure, perform apicoectomies (surgeries that extract the tip of a tooth’s roots), and do other complex endodontic surgeries. Endodontic treatments usually address damage done by infection and severe decay, but they can also save teeth cracked or damaged by injury.
Some dentists may be able to tackle a simple root canal case, but not all root canal cases are simple, including cases that seem simple at first glance. There may be hidden canals in the root, which, if not discovered, can cause the problems to return and require retreatment. These hidden canals may be invisible on X-rays in the initial treatment. Calcium deposits in root canals or damaged root surfaces may also require surgical treatment.
Another type of endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy. If the tissue at the tip of a tooth’s root becomes infected (or reinfected after previous endodontic treatment), it may be necessary to remove it and the surrounding tissue. This surgery can be performed for pediatric or adult patients with at-risk teeth. It may be recommended for patients with failed conventional root canal therapy, in which case it could be the only option to avoid extracting the tooth.
Trust Your Teeth to the Experts
Ultimately, endodontists are the experts when it comes to saving teeth. Some dentists are able to handle very straightforward cases, but only endodontists have done the extra years of study to become specialized in saving teeth, and only endodontists have the daily, weekly experience of doing these specific tooth-saving procedures. Ideally, a tooth doesn’t reach the point where it needs saving, but when it does, trust the endodontists.