There is a lot of depth in dentistry and, because of this, there are professionals that focus on specific dental procedures. If your dentist has mentioned a possible referral to an endodontist or a periodontist, then this article will help to bring you some clarity. Below we have outlined the differences between the two along with precisely what you can expect during a visit.
What Is an Endodontist?
Tooth concerns do not stop with what is visible. Below the gum line is our precious tooth roots and the health of them are vital for the sustainability of the teeth. When it comes to maintaining the health of the tooth root, it quickly becomes tricky. The visibility is often low and the pain is much higher. Endodontists are still dentists; however, they have advanced training focusing on the tooth root canal and treatments. They generally have an additional 2–3 years of training centered around the treatment and health of the tooth root. The majority of people visit an endodontist for root canal treatment. While dentists themselves are also trained to perform root canals, it is worth seeing an endodontist if you have the chance.
Why Should You Visit an Endodontist?
While visiting an endodontist isn’t essential in regards to root canal treatment it is much more beneficial. Because of their advanced training, endodontists are able to evaluate the condition of the tooth root thoroughly. The equipment that they have is generally top of the range and include things like 3D imaging. Most of the time dentists do not have access to this type of equipment which means that they aren’t able to precisely diagnose a condition with the tooth root as well as an endodontist can. As you have probably heard root canal treatment can be very painful. Because endodontists specialize in root canal therapy, they have the techniques and tools to limit the pain as much as possible. As far as pain management goes in dentistry, endodontists are considered experts. Even patients that struggle with numbing medication are no match for the training of endodontists.
What You Can Expect from an Endodontist
The very first thing that an endodontist will do during an appointment will be to evaluate the condition of the tooth root. This endodontic therapy will be carried out by using 3D imaging and digital radiographs. This will enable them to explicitly examine the root and root canals to identify any concerns. Once the endodontist has administered the numbing medication, they will then use what’s known as a dental dam to single out the tooth which is receiving the treatment. A dental dam is essentially a small sheet of latex which also protects the surrounding teeth. Due to their specialized profession endodontists stay up to date with the latest treatment techniques and equipment.
What Is a Periodontist?
Like endodontists, periodontists undergo advanced specialty training. You may be familiar with periodontal disease which is a severe form of gum disease. As the name suggests, a periodontist specializes in the health and treatment of gum tissue. Aside from treating already established gum disease they also aide the prevention of gum disease. Again, like endodontists, periodontists also undergo an additional three years minimum of training. They are experts in everything gum related and help to treat gum inflammation as well as gum disease. Nowadays, almost all tooth conditions can be repaired or treated and if they can’t then there is always the option of dental implants. In receiving dental implants, an appointment with a periodontist will most likely be requested. This is because their expertise is used to establish the specific placement of the dental implants. Most of the cosmetic dental procedures available require good gum health however severe gum disease can cause gum recession. In severe cases, gum tissue may need to be rebuilt before further treatment can be administered. This is known as cosmetic periodontal treatments. If gum tissue is damaged beyond repair and cosmetic periodontal treatment is needed, then the damaged gum tissue will need to be removed first. It goes without saying that if this is necessary, then you will want to have an expert in charge of the treatment. For those that already have dental implants, a periodontist has sufficient training in repairing them and maintaining the health of them.
The Benefits of Visiting a Periodontist
Visiting a periodontist is beneficial in many ways. Their advanced training means that you will have the best treatment options available. Periodontists also have access to the latest techniques and equipment. Most of the time, those with extreme cases of periodontal disease will visit a periodontist. However, you don’t necessarily have to have gum disease in order to visit one. Periodontists are incredibly knowledgeable in preventing gum disease and those who wish to do so can seek advice from them. The periodontal treatments that are available are much more extensive than those of an endodontist. Some examples of procedures include scaling, implant placement, gum disease treatment, damaged tissue removal, and much more. An appointment with a periodontist begins with a thorough examination as well as a medical and dental history review. Medical history is an essential factor to consider when treating periodontal conditions as pregnancy, heart disease, and diabetes can all affect the health of gum tissue. From there the periodontist will check for signs of gum disease and gum recession. In the event of the formation of gum pockets, the periodontist will take an X-ray to examine the condition of the tooth root. This will help them to establish the best possible treatment plan for your condition. Regular appointments with a periodontist will likely be necessary for those with severe gum disease.
Both endodontists and periodontists do not perform any other treatments that are unrelated to their specialties. This enables them to be the best that they can in their chosen field. While dentists are also capable of performing a majority of the treatments, a much higher success rate comes from using a periodontist or an endodontist. Most of the time, your dentist will refer you to an endodontist or a periodontist if they feel that you will benefit from it more. Otherwise, you can always contact a periodontist or endodontist personally to see if they can help.