When it comes to dental care, understanding the different specialties and their areas of expertise is crucial.
Two such dental specialists are periodontists and endodontists. While both are vital in maintaining oral health, they have distinct focuses within the field. Understand the key differences between periodontists and endodontists, their specific roles, treatments, and how they contribute to overall dental well-being.
Similar to the process by which General Practitioners (Doctors) refer patients to trained medical professionals such as Orthopaedic, Cardiothoracic, Neurologists, etc. Dentists may also refer patients to dental specialists in particular fields.
In Australia, with additional training or formal studies, dentists can become expert professionals in one of 13 occupations, which include:
- Dental-maxillofacial Radiologist
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
- Forensic Odontologist
- Oral Surgery
- Oral Medicine Specialist
- Oral Pathologist
- Paediatric Dentist
- Public Health Dentist
- Specialist in Special Needs Dentistry
Most titles above require formal dental education, postgraduate studies, or training. Dental qualifications as a specialist must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia (DBA).
Training and education between Periodontists vs. Endodontists
Periodontists and Endodontists are experts in different areas of the mouth. Both require an additional 2-3 years of formal education and training on top of their dental degrees. Once completed, both professions help manage and treat complex oral cases.
Attending dental school provides a strong foundation for understanding oral health, diagnosis and treatment.
Additional training builds upon base dental education, allowing qualified specialists to manage and treat complex oral cases.
When to See an Endodontist?
Endodontists are specialists who attend to issues related to the interior of your teeth. Endodontists are experts in helping to treat and save teeth that may require removal and replacement.
In short, endodontists help manage tooth infections and are known to be experts in treating pain from within the tooth.
If you must have endodontic work performed to treat your tooth, you’re more than likely experiencing severe tooth pain.
Root canal therapy can also save fractured, cracked or broken teeth from extraction. Endodontists often perform treatments for:
- Root canal therapy and re-treatment
- Fixing fracked, cracked, and broken teeth
- Accidental trauma
- Dental implants
- Regenerative endodontics
- Internal bleaching
- Root-end surgical procedures
What does an endodontist do?
The word “endodontist” begins from the prefix “endo-“, which is a prefix meaning inner, whereas the term “don’t” refers to the ‘tooth’.
Endodontists are experts in examining and treating root canals.
They are highly skilled at performing delicate procedures at the root of the tooth and pulp areas. Thus, performing procedures on the soft inner tissues of your teeth, otherwise known as ‘the pulp’, comprises blood vessels.
When the inner portions of a tooth (pulp) are affected by bacteria from decay or trauma, root canal treatment helps to remove and clean infected pulp. As a result, endodontists help save natural teeth from extraction.
Although general dentists can help treat minor root canal treatment, endodontists have far more experience treating minor to complex cases.
To summarize, endodontists are root canal and inner pulp specialists who help treat teeth in bad shape.
Can general dentists do endodontics?
Endodontists can perform general dentistry. In contrast, less than 3% of dentists are endodontists.
In Australia, knowledgeable and skilled dentists may perform pulp and root canal treatment, although registered endodontists with the (DBA) are strictly limited to pulp and root canal cases.
As a result, registered endodontists are highly skilled and more experienced since they consistently attend to, manage, and treat these patients.
General dentists often refer patients with complicated root canal systems or pain issues to endodontists. Endodontists often have uniquely designed tools and technologies to perform procedures efficiently and effectively.
When to See a Periodontist?
A periodontist prevents, diagnose and treats issues relating to oral inflammation, bone loss, and gum disease. Dentists may refer patients to a periodontist to manage deep cleaning below the gum line, advanced gum disease, gum recession, infection or bone problems.
Therefore, periodontists advise dentists on the exact locations for dental implants, which is essential for all-on-4 dental implant patients. Periodontists are also trained professionals in implant dentistry and can perform this surgical procedure since they thoroughly understand gum and bone structures.
In summary, periodontists are experts in gum health and complex cases relative to gums. Patients experiencing swollen gums, consistent gum bleeding, inflammation, severe gum recession, and infection may benefit from visiting a periodontist.
Periodontists focus and specialize in gum health.
The term “Perio-” refers to around. As experts, periodontists perform gum surgery to combat bacterial infections and gum disease contributing to tooth loss.
Periodontal disease affects thousands of Australians annually. The build-up of plaque and tartar is the primary cause of gum disease. Gum disease can be divided into two major stages.
Firstly, Gingivitis affects the gums and is indicated by inflammation, swelling or bleeding gums. Secondly, Periodontitis is a more severe stage of decay involving the gum and bone tissue.
Aesthetically, a natural tooth can appear healthy, but Gingivitis and Gum Recession may lead to bone loss, affecting the tooth’s support. Periodontists examine for active and potential problems below the gum line.
Relative to their services, periodontists perform cosmetic treatments such as gum grafts for patients suffering from gum recession. Gum grafting involves removing tissue from the palate (roof of the mouth) and attaching it to the gums.
Sometimes, the nearby gum tissue is pulled over to cover gum recession.
Since periodontists are experts in avoiding and fighting gum disease, they often remove severe plaque and tartar build-up with deep scaling.
To summarize, Periodontists are capable of undergoing a variety of procedures for different phases of dental care, including:
- Root planning
- Root scaling
- Tissue regeneration and gum flap procedures
- Collaborating with implant dentists for placement and positioning
- Jawbone reconstruction
- Modifying gum tissue
- Crown lengthening
- Dental implants
Can a dentist do periodontal work?
General dentists are an excellent first defence against common oral health conditions.
Skilled or knowledgeable general/family dentists may attend and help treat minor earlier stages of gum disease. In short, general dentists are excellent at managing initial gum issues and preventative measures.
General dentists may refer patients with advanced gum disease, bone issues or severe gum recession. Like Endodontists, Periodontists also use specific tools and modern technologies to accomplish complex procedures efficiently.
Once periodontal treatments are completed, unless specified otherwise, they often refer you back to a general dentist for standard check-ups, maintenance, or cosmetic dental work.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above regarding severe tooth pain, gum swelling and inflammation or are interested in dental implants, please get in touch with an Amazing Smiles Dentist near you to discuss your situation. Our team can help manage and treat your oral healthcare needs or provide you with referral details for a dental specialist if required.