Will a Regular Dentist Do a Root Canal?

man thinking for elgin dentist question blog

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 ofsome sort or if any local dentist can provide treatment.

To give a quick synopsis, it’s a back tooth that has been botheringme off and on for about three weeks now. It started off just being a littlesensitive depending on what I was eating or drinking, but lately, it’s sore allthe time and it has kept me up the past few nights. There’s nothing visiblywrong with the tooth. Granted, I have not had a cleaning and checkup in abouttwo years, but I was given a clean bill of health at the time, so I’m surprisedI could get a toothache like this out of the blue, particularly because nothinghas 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 consistentwith the need for a root canal. I’d like to go about this the smart way and nothave to waste time going to two different offices. Should I book with a generalpractice or do I need to seek out specialist care of some sort? If the latter,what type of specialist should I see?

Thank you,


Dear Ollie,

Virtually any dentist can perform a root canal. If you go toa general office, chances are you’ll be able to have anything you need donetaken care of there. While your symptoms may be consistent with the need for aroot canal, it’s far from definitive. There’s a chance it simply needs afilling, 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 likelywant an x-ray and will run some tests to confirm. Because of this, it’s betterto start out with a general practitioner, as he’d be the one to handle thosetypes of repairs too.

Occasionally, a general practitioner will refer patients outto specialists when the treatment exceeds what they feel they can confidentlycomplete. In the case of root canals, it would be an “endodontist.” You may bereferred if the tooth is unusually complex, has curved roots, or presents in someother unique way.

It’s also worth noting that, because your symptoms aregetting worse, the sooner you get in, the better. Most of the time, issuesstart out small, and as they grow, the discomfort naturally increases. That canalso mean more in-depth treatments are necessary. A tooth that could haveinitially been fixed with a filling will develop the need for a crown, and thenwill develop the need for a root canal or more. So, to minimize the amount oftreatment needed, you’ll want to book an appointment assoon as possible.

This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.

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