Girl patient goes to the dentist with a toothache in the dental office. Young woman holding the hand of a sick tooth

Endodontists: Your Dental Specialist

Similar to doctors, dentists have the option to specialize. Endodontic treatment is one of those specialties. Every endodontist is a dentist, but according to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), only 3% of dentists are endodontists. While they are trained to treat all matter of dental problems, an endodontist focuses their talents to the inside matter of the tooth known as dental pulp.

Endodontists Defined

It is kind of odd to picture dentistry having a lot of specialties. Dentists seem to have a specific purpose and profession as is, right? But teeth are a lot more complex than meets the eye. Teeth are made up of three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp. A lot of routine dental work is only focused on the outer layers: enamel and dentin. Once the dental pulp is involved, dental treatment can become extensive. It is nice to have specialists with training and experience as extensive as the issue faced.

Endodontist literally translates to “inside tooth” (endo=inside, donto=tooth). The inside of tooth is a vital anatomical feature. The pulp is also known as the root of the tooth. It contains the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that keep the tooth alive. When the pulp becomes infected, tooth loss is heavily threatened. You could say that endodontist specialize in teeth saving because of their work to prevent and repair damage to the root of the tooth.

Special Training

Again, similar to medical doctors, specializing in dentistry involves more years of school and clinical training. Endodontists study an extra 2-3 years on top of 4 years of dental school. They also must pass specific licensing in each state they practice.

The schooling is not the only thing that sets an endodontist apart from a dentist. Because of the specialty, endodontists perform certain dental procedures shockingly more often than dentists. Root canals are the procedure endodontists are best known for. The AAE states that endodontists perform an average of 25 root canals per week, while an average dentist performs about 2 in the same time allotment. They say practice makes perfect, and with that much experience it definitely puts the specialist over the top.

Root Canals & Other Procedures

An endodontist’s professional life is mostly filled with root canals. There are a handful of other popular procedures and prevention methods that occur, but root canals definitely take the cake. This is because root canals have an incredibly high success rate when it comes to saving the integrity of the tooth.

Root canals have a bad and misleading reputation of being a painful, off-putting surgery. That is one reason that many chose to have an endodontist perform the procedure. While you can’t go wrong with a specialist, it is always best to see your family dentist first. You wouldn’t go straight to a surgeon with undiagnosed symptoms and you shouldn’t go straight to a specialist with a toothache. If you are in need of a root canal and want to know all your options, ask your dentist about the possibility of seeing an endodontist.

Eagle Rock Dental Care can often perform a root canal procedure in office, but we are also happy to refer you to an Idaho Falls endodontist if needed. Whether you are treated in our office, or another, we want to make sure you get the best care possible! Request your appointment with us online, or contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have!