They both end in ‘tist’ but what people often miss, is the difference. It’s a common occurrence that patients can often mix up, so we want to clear up the confusion and talk about the difference between a dentist and an endodontist.
Dental Pulp vs. Dental Treatment
Which came first — the dentist or the endodontist? Well, before getting to an endodontist, your dentist usually tells you that you need to see an endodontist after seeing him/her. The reason? You need a root canal treatment and probably one that is going to be rather tricky. Endodontists specifically handle root canals, and root canals only. They specialize in treating the dental pulp whereas a dentist handles most other dental treatments such as gum disease, filling cavities, general teeth cleaning, tooth extractions, etc. Think about it this way: your tooth starts to give you pain so you immediately think about calling your dentist. You don’t know why your tooth hurts, you just know going to the dentist will (hopefully) relieve you of your pain. So, you get to the dentist to find your tooth has decayed beyond the dentine layer and down into the pulp of your tooth. This is where your dentist will have a conversation with you about seeing an endodontist for a root canal treatment. Does this mean you’re done seeing your dentist? No. After the endodontist has completed their share of the work (the root canal) you will then return to your dentist so that they can place a crown on the tooth that needed the root canal. A crown is simply the last step in restoring the tooth. The crown will act as your “old” tooth to prevent from any breakage of the tooth. Think of it as armor of your tooth’s nerves.
If you’re having any kind of tooth pain at all, it’s very important to see your dentist so they can determine exactly where and why you’re having said pain. And hopefully, you may not even need to see an endodontist. And that’s a very good thing!