Endodontists specialise in the pulp inside your teeth, which means that they're the root canal experts. It's estimated that 15.1 million patients have root canal surgery every year, but only 28% of those people use an endodontist rather than a general dentist. If you have an upcoming root canal treatment it's well worth considering looking into specialist care--and here are three very compelling reasons to consider it.
- The dentist you see will have far more training and experience in root canal surgery than your general dentist does. All dentists receive a high standard of professional training, and to practice dentistry in Australia you need to have a great deal of schooling and qualification. In order to work as an endodontic specialist, however, a dentist needs to spend a further two years studying the field once they've completed their standard dentistry qualifications. They're then able to enhance those extra skills with more practice--because they aren't practising general dentistry they have a great deal more time to focus on their specialisation, and it's estimated that "the average endodontist completes 25 root canal treatments a week, while general dentists do about two root canals a week".
- You'll reap the benefits of the best equipment, the newest techniques and the most innovative training. General dentists need to be prepared for all dental eventualities, and that means they need to have a little bit of everything available to them. This means they're perfectly placed to deal with a huge range of things, but it also means that they're unlikely to have the budget or the physical space to invest in the latest and most innovative technologies for individual procedures. Endodontists have access to things like the CBCT, a recent innovation in root canal treatment lauded by specialists.
- Finally--and perhaps most importantly--there's a much lower chance of something going wrong with your surgery. All medical procedures have a chance of going a little awry, and root canal treatment is no different. When performed by a general dentist, root canal treatments have a 68-85% success rate--but when you visit a specialist in endodontics instead, that rate soars to 95%.
If you think an endodontist might be right for you, there are two main methods by which you can get an appointment with one. The best place to start is simply by talking to your general dentist and asking them to refer you; most will be happy to do so. If you'd like to speed things up a little, however, find a practice near you that accepts self-referrals--there's usually at least one in every local area.