Just about everyone knows how important it is to go to the dentist, but understanding what an endodontist can do for you may not be common knowledge. What is the difference between the services provided by an endodontist versus a regular dentist? Dr. Jacqueline S. Allen of Phoenix Endodontic Group is happy to describe the differences.
To help you understand the basics, endodontics is the study of the pulp inside your teeth, where connective tissues, nerves, arteries and veins live. Usually this pulp is protected by your enamel but can become compromised by cracks or cavities, leading to decay. This is where an endodontist saves the day! “The basic dental degrees are DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry) and DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). The difference is determined by the curriculum at the Dental School where the dentist attended. To become an Endodontist (Specialist), a dentist needs to attend a two year specialty program for an Endodontic Certificate or a three year program for a Masters Degree in Endodontics. Endodontists that only have DDS or DMD after their name have a certificate, Endodontists that have MS or MSD after their name have a Masters Degree in Endodontics.” says Dr. Allen, whose credentials are D.D.S., M.S.
While a general dentist may be able to perform procedures such as a root canal, he or she may only do a few of these per week and on simpler tooth structures. “Molar teeth and any retreatments are best performed by Endodontists. Molar teeth can have unique anatomy which makes finding all of the canals tricky, especially if the dentist does not use surgical microscopes when performing their procedures,” says Dr. Allen. “Surgical microscopes, Apex locaters, Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT) are all tools employed by endodontists to make the root canal experience as worry-free as possible for the patient.”
Generally, everyone needs to see a dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams. When your dentist identifies an issue more complex than he or she has the equipment or training to complete, you will be referred to an endodontist. For any question regarding the comfort or health of your teeth, call Phoenix Endodontic Group today!