If you’ve been diagnosed with an infected root canal system, who should you choose for root canal therapy: a dentist or an endodontist? That decision is ultimately up to you and your dentist, but the type of tooth that is infected and the shape of its roots can be an important factor in the decision. Before we look into that, let’s discuss the differences between endodontists and dentists.
What is an Endodontist, and How Are They Different from Dentists?
You may be asking yourself, “What is an endodontist?” Dentists and endodontists are both graduates of dental school, and many endodontists begin their dental careers in general practice. But while all endodontists are dentists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists.* Endodontists complete an additional two or more years of specialized training in diagnosing tooth pain and performing procedures relating to the interior of a tooth. Their practice is frequently limited to endodontic procedures, and on average, they perform 25 root canal treatments per week.*
Does this mean that only endodontists can perform root canals? Absolutely not! General dentists are skilled in performing root canal therapy and have the tools and training required for successfully completing most procedures. But there are some situations when even dentists who routinely perform root canals will refer their patients to an endodontist.
Why Would a Dentist Refer You to an Endodontist?
If the infected tooth has a complex root canal system—which is frequently an issue with multi-rooted teeth like molars or premolars—dentists may refer their patient to an endodontist.** For successful treatment, the dentist or endodontist must be able to find and clean all the canals within the tooth. Molars and premolars may have slender canals that are sometimes obstructed or are difficult to detect even with high-powered microscopes and imaging systems.** Also, root canal systems with complex anatomies may be difficult to completely clean with standard root canal treatment, so, a dentist may choose to refer these cases to an endodontist, who typically has more experience in treating complex root canal systems.
One of the most effective ways that a dentist or an endodontist can treat every root, even those with complex anatomies,1,2 is by using the GentleWave® System. The GentleWave System uses fluid dynamics and broad spectrum acoustic energy to clean and disinfect the root canal system.2 This revolutionary alternative to standard root canal treatment is so effective at cleaning the root canal system2 —removing bacteria, debris and tissue2—it even reaches into microscopic spaces1,2 that standard root canal treatments frequently cannot.3 Plus, with the GentleWave Procedure, the tooth can typically be cleaned and filled in just one session.4 After undergoing the procedure, a permanent crown may be placed at a follow-up appointment.
How Can You Find a GentleWave® Provider?
If you’re interested in this minimally invasive1 alternative to standard root canal treatment, we can help! Use our Provider Locator to find a dentist or endodontist in your area with the GentleWave System.