According to the American Association of Endodontists, less than 3% of American dentists specialize in endodontics.
Root canals can be performed both by general dentists and our Louisville, KY endodontist. On average, an endodontist will perform 25 or more root canals or other procedures related to a tooth infection every week. Due to this schedule, they are efficient and flexible, as they do not perform other routine dental procedures. A dentist is likely to refer a patient to an endodontist for treatment of an infected tooth, especially when extreme pain and swelling are present.
Due to their specialization in pain management, endodontists can also help if you have difficulty undergoing local anesthesia. Endodontists are also concerned with root canal safety and use cutting-edge tools to ensure a comfortable, pain-free procedure.
What are the education requirements for an endodontist?
Aspiring endodontists must complete an undergraduate degree, four years of dental school, and two to three years of endodontic residency. The average duration of a residency is 26 months, according to the American Dental Education Association. According to the AAE, endodontists must also pass three rigorous exams in endodontics to become certified.
The University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry states that endodontics students examine pulp biology and the causes of pulp injury or disease. They also study diagnostics and learn how to treat the affected area. Residents in programs similar to the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine will perform hundreds of root canals and pulp treatments during their residency. Additionally, many residency programs require students to conduct research and publish their findings in a medical journal.
When Should I See an Endodontist?
According to the AAE, 60–82% of all dental emergencies are endodontic emergencies. Typically, endodontists are the first dental professionals you would see in a dental trauma setting.
When experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your general dentist about an endodontist referral:
- Pain in the teeth, possibly caused by an injury
- Sensitivity to food and drink
- Inflammation of your gums, teeth, and face
- The presence of tenderness, pus, or discoloration around a tooth
Endodontists are great at saving teeth, but sometimes a tooth or teeth may have complications beyond their capabilities. The good news is that these specialists have the skills and advanced diagnostic tools to determine the right treatment for you. Further treatment may include an extraction and tooth replacement to restore your smile, but only after exploring all treatment options. One of these tooth savers can help you save your natural teeth and prevent further restorative work down the road.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or to learn more about endodontics, please contact our endodontics office in Louisville, KY.