Story by Steve Howell
As anyone who has experienced severe tooth pain knows, there’s nothing more important than finding relief. When tooth decay or injury requires a root canal, it’s time to choose an endodontist. Endodontists also specialize in diagnosing and treating tooth pain. Because of the intricate network of nerves in the teeth, it’s often difficult to pinpoint the pain’s source. Sometimes, pain is felt in other teeth or appears as a headache. Though best known for performing root canals, endodontists also treat traumatic tooth injuries, re-implant teeth that have been knocked out and restore growth in children’s permanent teeth that have stopped growing following an injury.
With so many endodontists in the area, how do you choose the right one? An excellent starting point is to ask your regular dentist for a recommendation. There’s also a chance that you have a friend, relative, or co-worker who has had a root canal or other endodontic procedure performed recently.
Check patient reviews online. They’re useful for getting a sense of a particular doctor’s bedside manner, the state of a dental facility, and the efficiency of the staff. But don’t rely on reviews alone. Check to see that the clinic has the newest technology. Make sure your specific needs will be covered by insurance. The staff at any facility should cheerfully answer all your questions. If they don’t have the time or patience to inform you about the details, it could be an indicator that they won’t have time to give your case the proper attention once you become their patient.
Make a list of likely candidates. Evaluate them based on qualifications such as their education and post-graduate work, and whether they’re members of a professional society, such as the American Association of Endodontics. See that they’ve dedicated a suitable amount of time perfecting their knowledge and skills to make what’s wrong inside your mouth right again. You may find candidates who have been dentists for decades, but how long has each doctor on your list been in practice as an endodontist, and do they have experience in performing the procedure you need?
Most endodontists meet with patients before providing treatment. This is useful to get paperwork prepared before the procedure and to ensure their services are a good fit for your needs. Schedule a visit with doctors you’re considering to discuss your needs and expectations. Take notes on what you see and hear.
When it’s time to choose, review the pros and cons of each provider, keeping in mind what’s most important to you. Be well informed and trust your gut.