General dentist or endodontist for root canal?

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General dentist or endodontist?

I am anticipating that I will need root canal therapy on a tooth which was crowned 10 yrs ago. I am not wild about the local endodontist group. They offer nitrous and I can take a sedative before I go but, they aren't the most friendly. In other words, they don't cater to phobic/anxious patients. I survived root canal therapy on a different tooth but am extremely anxious to have another one done.

I'm wondering what advantages there are to having this work done by an endodontist rather than a general dentist. My dentist sends me to the endodontist because he feels that they work faster and are obviously more experienced in root canals than he so he thinks it is a better choice for me.

I am wondering if a general dentist who specializes in phobic patients would be the better choice?

Would I get the same quality of care from a general dentist? Do most dentists perform root canal therapy routinely enough so that I shouldn't experience anymore discomfort or post complications then I would with an endodontist?

Thanks and BTW, this is the first time that I've visited this board. What a wonderful place for those with dental phobia. I am so phobic that I go to the dentist on a routine basis. Does that make sense? I am sure that fellow phobics would strongly disagree.

Betty

PS- am I spelling endodontist incorrectly? Spellcheck wanted to change it. Interesting that a dental board does not have endodontist in its dictionary. :D
 
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Hi Betty,

I'm not a dentist, but I thought I'd chip in anyway... as you pointed out, your dentist sends you to the endo (your spelling is correct, BTW - this is a ProBoards message board and I've got no control over the built-in spell-checker :D) because he feels they're better at it. If he routinely refers out for root canals, he probably has little practice with them (and like with any other skill, practice makes perfect etc.). Also endodontists have more specialist equipment.

I don't know about "phobia specialist", from your description, it sounds as if you like your current general dentist and would be happy to have the RCT done by him if he felt happy doing it? Please correct me if I'm wrong - that's just the general impression I got.

So any other general dentist you feel happy with AND who does RCT (and does it well) might work for you. There is no easy answer to your question - there are general dentists who enjoy doing root canals and who are excellent at it, whereas others don't enjoy doing them or are no good at them, so they refer out.

Also - some root canals are quite hard to do (for example because the canals are really narrow or hard to find or sth along those lines), and a specialist may be better equipped to handle such situations. If that's the case - are there any other endodontists in your area, apart from that one group?

Officially, there's no such thing as a "phobia specialist" (it's not a specialty - anyone could potentially call themselves a phobia specialist). Did you mean that they offer sedation options, TLC, or both?

:welcome:
 
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Actually, since I first posted, I got up enough nerve to phone a different endontic group. I was very impressed with the receptionist. If only receptionists and dentists alike realized how important the receptionist is in making a patient feel welcomed and comfortable.

She told me that this group offers valium the night before and then the day of the RCT. No nitrous but the receptionist assured me that I would be very relaxed for the prodedure. She told me that the doc is excellent and has excellent chairside manner. She also stated that RCT in their office is just like a filling. That statement made me feel so at ease. I have an appt for a consult on Fri. I wish is was tomorrow because I am feeling very confident about this and would like to get things started.

I will be so greatful to put this fear and worrying behind me and it will be wonderful to eat anything that I want again. You see, I'm trying to stay positive.

Thanks again. This is a wonderful board. I bet that it has helped many, many people. I plan to share my success stories. I will post after my visit on Fri.

Betty
 
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Front tooth or molar? Usually front teeth are easier to do root canals on and molars are harder.

The specialist should have some more specialised equipment available than the general dentist does, such as a microscope or other high magnification devices, which should increase the chances of successfully treating a difficult endo case.

I know 3 excellent endodontists in the USA, 1 in Orlando, 1 in Arkansas and 1 in Georgia, if that's any help
 
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Gordon, thanks for your response. It is a molar. My dentist is not sure which tooth is bothering me. I am going to visit a local endo for a consult on Fri.

Thanks for mentioning the dentists in other states but unfortunately I am no where near any of those states. They are several hours away via plane. But thanks any way! :D

Betty
 
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The smiley didn't work :redface: I was actually trying to be funny, the chances of you living anywhere near the 3 endodontists I know in a country the size of the US must be tiny.
Since the one in Arkansas flies his own plane, maybe you could get him to come and pick you up. :devilish:
 
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Well okay Gordon I'll take a ride if it's not a two seater and chances are it is. If he has a corporate jet then it's a go! :D

Betty
 
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