You may think of your mouth as just one component, but there are several parts of your mouth that are incredibly detailed and function differently from one another (and yet, all together too). Believe it or not, there are differing dental specialists for your teeth, gums, and jaw. Two of these specialists that often get confused by patients is the endodontist vs periodontist. Many adults will be referred to one of these specialists at some point in their lives for treatment that focuses on a specific area.

Regular dental care from a general dentist is, of course, important, but when they can’t treat complex oral health or pain, they may give you a referral to a specialist who can better address the need at a deeper level. Specialists possess more experience and understanding of their respective fields and work to support dental care for the long term.

Before deciding who you should be referred to, we explain below how to better understand how an endodontist vs periodontist differ from each other and why each is so important to caring for your health.

What is an Endodontist?

First, what is an endodontist? An endodontist is a dental specialist who practices caring for the tooth pulp and the tissues surrounding the root of a tooth, as well as the diseases and conditions that affect them.

Endodontists perform a variety of procedures including root canals, retreatment of failed root canals, endodontic surgery, as well as treating cracked teeth and dental trauma. Root canals are typically the most common procedure performed by an endodontist, but can also span to other treatments that support the tooth and pain that may be occurring.

The process of a typical root canal removes infected, inflamed, and damaged dentin from inside your tooth while preserving as much of the root and enamel as possible.

Who Should See an Endodontist?

A general dentist can manage some simple endodontal needs, but more complex cases that require root canal therapy in teeth with root configuration or surgical procedures would need the expertise of a specialist. At their core, the goal of an endodontist is to save your natural teeth for as long as possible.

A dentist will usually refer cases to an endodontist that include the following:

  • Tooth decay
  • Intricate fillings
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods.
  • Complex root canal treatment procedures.
  • Abscessed teeth requiring surgical procedures.
  • Injury to a tooth that cracks or damages it.
  • Swelling of your face/gums, especially near a tooth.
  • Complex treatments like with combined periodontal and endodontic problems.

No one enjoys having work done on their teeth. However, when it comes to tooth pain, it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible so that it doesn’t get worse over time.

If you’re experiencing tooth pain or have injured your tooth, make an appointment with an endodontist or pay a visit to your dentist.

What is a Periodontist?

So what does a periodontist do? A periodontist is a dental specialist who focuses on supporting structures around the teeth and the diseases and/or conditions that affect them. In other words, they specialize in saving your gums. The supporting tissues include the gingiva (gums), alveolar bone, cementum (root cells), and the periodontal ligament. A periodontist is also trained in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

Periodontal cases include those with severe gum disease or a complex dental history. Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments, but focus on things like dental scaling, root planing (cleaning of the infected surface of the root), and surgically treating patients with severe gum problems.

Who Should See a Periodontist?

A general dentist can manage some simple periodontal needs. However, as more and more patients exhibit signs of gum disease, coupled with a complex medical history, periodontal treatment may require a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a periodontist.

A dentist will usually refer cases to a periodontist that include the following:

  • Scaling and root planing, which cleans the surface of an infected root.
  • Root surface debridement (damaged tissue removed).
  • Surgical procedures for people with severe gum infection or damage.
  • Placing, replacing, or repairing dental implants.
  • Moderate to aggressive periodontitis.
  • Complex treatments like with combined periodontal and endodontic problems.

A periodontist will examine your gums for signs of recession, review how your teeth fit together and determine if any teeth are loose, which is a sign of advanced periodontal disease. After reviewing, your periodontist may recommend treatments like antibiotics, gum graft surgery, scaling and root planing, dental crown lengthening, implants, and pocket reduction procedures.

As mentioned before, when it comes to gum or tooth pain, it’s important to take care of it quickly and mention it to your regular dentist or find a periodontist to address the problem.

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We hope this was helpful in sharing how an endodontist vs periodontist specialize in treating specific dental problems.

At Endodontic Specialists, we provide tooth therapy provided by highly skilled doctors intent on serving your root pain quickly and efficiently. Our clients choose us because of our friendly staff, sedation options, experienced physicians, same-day appointments, and long-term pain management. For more information, contact us at 719-599-7665 or fill out our contact form.