When your dentist informs you that you need a root canal, you may automatically feel nervousness or even fear. If you dread this procedure, you are certainly not alone. This endodontic treatment causes anxiety in many dental patients, but it does not have to. Your dentist can make you feel more at ease during this…
Do I Need a Referral for Endodontic Treatment?
Root canal treatment, or endodontic treatment, can be done by both a general dentist and an endodontist. As the name suggests, endodontists are specialist dentists that treat problems affecting the inner tooth. This makes them more than qualified to perform all sorts of procedures on the inner tooth, including a root canal.
And yet, many general dentists also perform root canals, which begs the question, when should a general dentist perform a root canal and when should you, as a patient, get a referral to see an endodontist?
The answer comes as we cover a few basics.
What is root canal treatment?
To put it simply, a root canal is a dental procedure that removes dead or dying tissue in the inner tooth, while keeping the outer tooth intact. The point of endodontic treatment is to treat a tooth that is too far gone for other kinds of treatment. A root canal allows a patient to keep the outer part of their tooth, as opposed to having the tooth extracted.
This is a good thing since the patient is still able to smile and chew with the treated tooth. The tooth also keeps the rest of the person's teeth from shifting, like they would if it were extracted. So a root canal is a great way for a person to avoid the problems that come with a missing tooth, including expensive tooth replacement treatments.
What are the signs that a patient needs endodontic treatment?
Although it can be painless and sometimes, hard to notice, a dead or dying tooth often comes with symptoms that are hard to miss, such as:
- Tooth discoloration behind the enamel that ends up looking like a dark shadow in the tooth
- Excruciating pain if the dead or dying tooth is because of an infection
- If the dead tooth is caused by an infection, a person may notice a bad smell coming from the tooth
- Pus coming out of the tooth due to infection
Anyone who notices these symptoms should see a dentist immediately. Based on their findings, the dentist will either treat the tooth themselves or refer the patient to a specialist.
When does a patient need a referral?
A general dentist may choose to perform a simple or routine root canal. This implies that there are situations that will need the intervention of a specialist. Situations like:
- A general dentist that chooses to refer all endodontic treatments to an endodontist
- A patient that needs a second root canal on the same tooth after the first root canal failed
- A person with complicated tooth anatomy that needs treatment from a specialist. Complicated tooth anatomy is a common reason why root canals fail the first time around
- An insurer that requires that patients get a referral before they see an endodontist
A skilled dentist will guide you through treatment for your problem tooth
The role of a dentist is to make sure their patients get the highest level of care. For this reason, they will treat what they can and call in a specialist for matters that require their expertise.
Call our East Orange clinic to set up an appointment and get your problematic tooth treated, once and for all. Our endodontist has lots of experience performing root canals.
Let's get started…
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.
A dental crown is a great way to restore your smile and oral health after a tooth becomes severely damaged or lost. This is different from a traditional crown, which involves strengthening and protecting an existing natural tooth. The following review highlights what a dental implant crown is and when it might be recommended.If a…
Cosmetic dentistry can be the right solution to revive your smile. With various treatments from a cosmetic dentist, you can also once again have the full, healthy use of your mouth. There are various options to take care of different problems. As you learn about the different treatments available, you can decide which one makes…
Of all the options available for replacing a missing tooth, a dental implant has the highest success rate. The tooth restoration is highly effective, durable, and long-lasting. This article explains the use of dental implants to restore the smile after losing a tooth.A dental implant can solve some of the problems that usually come with…