What’s The Difference Between A Dentist And An Endodontist?
In a world of increasing specialization, it’s more important than ever to know your options, both as a patient and in building a career.
Endodontists are specialists at saving teeth and are highly trained dental professionals with a minimum of two additional years of training beyond dental school. To put this in perspective, endodontic education takes two and a half times longer than the average engineering degree.
This additional training benefits patients even before any treatment is administered as it facilitates the accurate and thoughtful diagnosis of lower facial pain. Endodontists’ advanced experience and technical skills ensure precise and efficient root canal treatment.
An endodontists job isn’t always easy as their patients are often in a great deal of pain and they work under the constant pressure of managing patient stress and emotions.
As oral health care providers, these situations often require a sense of urgency, but they must also carry a sense of compassion and maintain composure at all times. Fortunately, endodontist training prepares them to manage even the worst case scenarios.
Typically, an endodontics residency provides them with the knowledge and experience to treat medically-complex patients, all while using advanced techniques and technology. Ultimately, they partner with general dentists to bring comfort to patients with severe tooth trauma in order to save and preserve their natural teeth.
Endodontists work in a microscopic environment inside teeth and do so with the aid of advanced materials and technology to guide treatment primarily with the operating microscope. In real terms, the scale in which endodontists work approximately equals the size of Queen Elizabeth’s ear on an Australian five-cent coin.
Endodontists utilize dental dams for all root canal treatments. Not only does this enhance visual contrast to access the tooth, but more importantly the dental dam prevents microbial contamination from the oral cavity. Placing a dental dam to isolate a tooth is similar to wearing a poncho — comfortable, yet protective.
While preventing contamination of the tooth with a dental dam is one thing, removing existing internal microbes is another. Endodontists utilize NASA technology and the instruments they use to navigate through root canal spaces and remove debris.
This nickel titanium technology used in satellites is flexible and has shape-memory. They also implement high-frequency ultrasonic instruments to properly irrigate canals, further removing debris. Ultrasonics use fast, alternating motions to agitate cleaning solutions, similar to using a pulsating electric toothbrush inside the root canal space.
Lastly, endodontists also use advanced visual imaging like filtering photos on your cell phone, and can immediately enhance images to evaluate the internal dental structure. Additionally, 3D imaging is becoming more widely used among endodontists to evaluate complex root anatomy and better plan patient treatment.
Long story short, if you have a tooth that needs to be saved, don’t just call a dentist — call an endodontist.