Stop the presses: Endodontists preferred for root canals

What do IRS audits and root canals have in common? They both strike terror in the hearts of people. But there is a simple way to reduce the trauma of getting a root canal -- go to an endodontist. At least that’s what a recent press release from the American Association of Endodontists claims, which points to an L.C. Williams & Associates poll. The poll's not-so-surprising results: almost half of the surveyed people said that they would prefer to go to a specialist (namely, an endodontist) for a root canal.

"Routinely seeing a general dentist is the cornerstone of sustaining a healthy mouth, but for more complex and challenging procedures, such as a root canal, a visit to an endodontist may be preferable," says the press release.

James Mattingly, D.D.S, a general dentist who's been practicing in Walnut Creek, Calif for nearly a decade, points out that most general dentists pick and choose their root canal battles.

"I probably do about 90 percent of the cases not involving the molar teeth, and about 20 percent of cases involving the molar teeth. The molars are harder due to visibility and curved canals; molars also have, on average, between three or four individual nerves per tooth," said Dr. Mattingly in a DrBicuspid interview. "If a patient has an existing crown on a tooth that requires a root canal, I usually refer it out [to an endodontist] because visibility is likewise difficult."

"Endodontists are really micro-surgeons trained to navigate the intricate canals inside the tooth," said Shepard S. Goldstein, D.M.D., president of the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) and an endodontist from Framingham, Mass in a press release.

In a DrBicuspid interview, Dr. Goldstein pointed out that endodontists have the advantage of doing an average of 25 root canals a week vs. a general dentist's two. They also have advanced training, specialized equipment, and a higher comfort level with administering anaesthesia, he noted.

Another less-than-surprising result: 51 percent of the people survey by L.C. Williams did not know that there was a dental specialist for root canals. But among those who had been to an endodontist before, 89 percent said they would return for future treatment. The kicker? The survey shows that general dentists are still in the driver's seat. The majority of patients surveyed said they would go to an endodontist because their general dentist recommended it.

Page 1 of 176
Next Page