I have a tooth that’s bothering me and I need to find a new dentist in Elgin or the surrounding area. My problem is, I don’t know whether I should be looking for a specialist of some sort or if any local dentist can provide treatment.
To give a quick synopsis, it’s a back tooth that has been bothering me off and on for about three weeks now. It started off just being a little sensitive depending on what I was eating or drinking, but lately, it’s sore all the time and it has kept me up the past few nights. There’s nothing visibly wrong with the tooth. Granted, I have not had a cleaning and checkup in about two years, but I was given a clean bill of health at the time, so I’m surprised I could get a toothache like this out of the blue, particularly because nothing has changed and I don’t see any damage to the tooth or around it.
However, I have looked up my symptoms and they appear to be consistent with the need for a root canal. I’d like to go about this the smart way and not have to waste time going to two different offices. Should I book with a general practice or do I need to seek out specialist care of some sort? If the latter, what type of specialist should I see?
Virtually any dentist can perform a root canal. If you go to a general office, chances are you’ll be able to have anything you need done taken care of there. While your symptoms may be consistent with the need for a root canal, it’s far from definitive. There’s a chance it simply needs a filling, crown, or other treatment. It’s not always easy to detect decay, cracks, and other forms of damage with the naked eye. Your doctor will likely want an x-ray and will run some tests to confirm. Because of this, it’s better to start out with a general practitioner, as he’d be the one to handle those types of repairs too.
Occasionally, a general practitioner will refer patients out to specialists when the treatment exceeds what they feel they can confidently complete. In the case of root canals, it would be an “endodontist.” You may be referred if the tooth is unusually complex, has curved roots, or presents in some other unique way.
It’s also worth noting that, because your symptoms are getting worse, the sooner you get in, the better. Most of the time, issues start out small, and as they grow, the discomfort naturally increases. That can also mean more in-depth treatments are necessary. A tooth that could have initially been fixed with a filling will develop the need for a crown, and then will develop the need for a root canal or more. So, to minimize the amount of treatment needed, you’ll want to book an appointment as soon as possible.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.