When You Need to See an Endodontist versus a Periodontist

Endodontist versus Periodontist

The suffix –dontist means someone who deals with the teeth.

Add various prefixes to –dontist and you have a plethora of dental specialties, including periodontists and endodontists.

It is easy to find each specialty indistinguishable at first. However, knowing the differences between these two specialists will help you understand:

  • What dental issues you are facing
  • Why your dentist is referring you to a specialist
  • What type of treatment you can expect

In today’s post, we will explain the differences between these specialties so you can feel more informed and confident enough to choose the best treatment plan for your needs.

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When You Need to See an Endodontist versus a Periodontist

What Is a Periodontist and What Do They Do?

The prefix perio– means “around,” so a periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on the tissues surrounding the teeth—namely, the gums and bone.

A periodontist’s number-one goal is to fight gum disease. Patients who need to see a periodontist are those who have gum disease, infections, or bone loss caused by gum disease.

Periodontal disease is a major leading cause of tooth loss. This disease can also wreak havoc on the rest of the body, particularly the heart. Patients with advanced periodontal disease have a higher risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

Gum disease starts with plaque buildup. Over time, the plaque calcifies (tartar/calculus), making it impossible to remove with a toothbrush or floss. If it is not removed by a dental professional, gum disease can result. Signs of gum disease include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, puffy gum tissue
  • Sore gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath

Left untreated, the plaque and tartar continue to irritate the gum tissue, causing it to recede. Eventually, the ligaments that attach the gums to the teeth will weaken and break. Over time, the bone will start to recede as well, leading to loose teeth and, eventually, tooth loss.

Treatments and Services Provided by a Periodontist

A periodontist performs a variety of dental procedures to help combat periodontal disease. These include:

  • Scaling and root planing: The most common procedure performed by a periodontist or a dental hygienist who works with them is to remove all traces of plaque and tartar. Patients need to be numb for this procedure, as the hygienist needs to clean well below the gumline to remove all debris. Antibiotics may be administered or prescribed.
  • Gum surgery: For patients who have advanced gum disease, scaling and root planing might not be enough to reduce the pocket depths around the teeth, especially if the bone has already started to recede. Surgical procedures can help reduce the pocket depths around the teeth or restore lost gum tissue.

The Endodontist: How They Help Protect Your Teeth

Endo- means “inner.” Therefore, an endodontist is someone who treats the inner portion of the tooth, also known as the root, nerve, or pulp of the tooth.

Each tooth has at least one root canal, a thin opening that is filled with a soft tissue (pulp), which is made up of nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. The pulp feeds nutrients to the tooth, keeping it alive and healthy.

At times, the pulp can become traumatized or infected due to an accident or bacterial exposure. Nerve irritation can cause a toothache. If a damaged nerve is not treated, it can weaken the tooth and lead to fractures or tooth loss.

An endodontist specializes in restorations that help prevent tooth loss. All endodontists are licensed dentists. They receive extra training in their specialty. Approximately 3 percent of dentists are endodontists.

Treatments and Services Provided by an Endodontist

Here are just some of the services provided at our Renovo endodontic studio.

  • Root canal therapy: When the pulp is infected or has died, we need to remove it. Our Renovo endodontic specialists will clean out the nerve tissue, as well as any infected or decayed tissue. Then, we will fill the canals with a material that seals them off, which protects the tooth from bacterial exposure and further decay or infection.
  • RCT retreatment: At times, an existing root canal treatment needs to be retreated due to trauma, damage to the tooth, or bacterial exposure. We can remove the existing sealant material, clean the canals thoroughly, and refill them.
  • Microsurgery: At times, a surgical procedure called an apicoectomy is needed after a tooth has undergone root canal therapy. There are various reasons why someone might need this form of treatment, including infection or lack of healing after the root canal therapy. During the surgery, we can isolate the root of the tooth and the surrounding bone. We may need to remove a small portion of the tip of the root. Once that is complete, we will seal the tooth and suture the gum tissue. The procedure is relatively minor, allowing patients to comfortably return to normal activities the next day.
  • Vital pulp and regenerative therapy: If a young patient who is still growing and developing experiences pulp disease, we can perform treatment that will help restore the health of the pulp. If that is not an option, we also provide treatment using existing stem cells from around a young tooth to regenerate pulp tissue.

Depending on their training, an endodontist can also specialize in other treatments including extractions and dental implants.

Renovo Endodontics: Choose a Dental Team You Can Trust

If your general dentist has informed you that you might need root canal treatment, turn to the team you can trust—Renovo Endodontics.

We are a diverse group of endodontists that are dedicated to providing exceptional care to every single patient that walks into our office. One of the things that helps us do that is having so many excellent practitioners on our team. We have no problem providing you with a second opinion to ensure you are getting the treatment you need for healthier dentition.

We understand that hearing the words “root canal treatment” can cause some anxiety, and we want to help put your mind at ease. Every practitioner and team member in our Renovo endodontic studio is caring and compassionate. We will answer all your questions and make sure you are thoroughly comfortable during your time in our office.

Have you been told you need endodontic treatment but still have questions? We would love to answer them for you. Contact us for more information.

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