Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.
If you have a tooth with a cavity that is causing severe pain or swelling, you may need to see an endodontist. An endodontist is a dental specialist who specializes in root canals, a procedure necessary to save a tooth when the pulp becomes infected or damaged.
Endodontists are trained to use special tools and procedures to remove infected tissue from the teeth' roots and replace it with a filling or crown so it doesn't become infected again.
If you need an endodontist, how can you find a competent one who will take good care of you and provide quality and compassionate care?
Word of Mouth
Start your search by asking friends and family. They may be able to recommend someone they've worked with in the past If you don't have recommendations, search online.
Look for a specialist in the area where you live. If there are no endodontists in your town, try looking at nearby towns or cities that might have specialists who work remotely (a specialty called telehealth). You could also look for a specialist who is board certified by the American Board of Endodontics (ABE).
Read Online Reviews
Before you get in touch with potential endodontists, check reviews. You can look for reviews on sites like Yelp. Be sure to look at reviews from patients who have had similar procedures done. For example, if you're looking for an emergency endodontist in Boston, but one patient says they didn't like the endodontist because they used too much anesthesia during their root canal (and another patient complains about how long it took him to fill her cavity), that's a red flag.
Have an In-Person Consultation
When you meet with a potential endodontist, ask the right questions. Here are a few things to inquire about:
Ask about their experience. The best way to gauge an endodontist's experience is by asking for their credentials and medical history. If you're looking for someone with lots of experience, ask how long they have been practicing and how many procedures they've performed.
It's also useful to know whether they train other dentists or endodontists or take part in continuing education courses—this will give you an idea of the kind of dedication they bring to their work.
Ask about their education background. Endodontists are dental specialists who have completed a graduate-level education in endodontics. They have also passed a rigorous national exam and have been certified by The American Board of Endodontics.
The educational requirements for an endodontist include:
- Four years of dental school (or equivalent)
- A one-year internship under the supervision of a licensed dentist
- A two-year residency program that emphasizes clinical training in endodontics at an approved accredited institution.
Make sure that your dentist has all the necessary qualifications and certifications to perform root canal treatments. These include Diplomat of American Board of Endodontics (DAB) or Diplomat of National Board of Examinations in Dentistry (DBN).
Some states also require dentists to be licensed and registered with the local dental board before they can perform root canal treatment on patients. Make sure you ask them about these requirements before your treatment.
It is always a good idea to confirm whether other patients who underwent root canal treatment by your chosen endodontist are happy with the results. If possible, get in touch with these patients and ask about their experience with the endodontist. If there are negative reviews online about their service, make sure you take this into consideration to.
Ensure You Trust Them
Knowing that you can trust your endodontist is important because the work they do on your teeth is delicate, and it's important to have a high level of confidence in their abilities.
Unfortunately, this isn't always easy—as mentioned, not all endodontists are created equal. Some are better than others at their job, so it's important to find someone who knows what they're doing before you let them work on your teeth!
Do Your Research
It’s not always easy to find the right endodontist, but with a little research and some careful consideration, you can find someone you feel comfortable with. Make sure they have good reviews online, ask around to see if anyone has had a bad experience with them before making an appointment. The most important thing is that they make you feel comfortable and safe during treatment.
"How to Become an Endodontist - Doctorly.org." http://doctorly.org/how-to-become-an-endodontist/.
"Endodontics (Root Canal Dentist): What is it, Symptoms &Treatment." https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16959-endodontics.
"What Is an Endodontist? | Colgate®." https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/root-canals/what-is-an-endodontist-facts-about-this-tooth-saving-specialist.