How Is An Endodontist Different From an Oral Surgeon?

At James A. Penney II, DDS, PA Endodontics we want to make sure all our patients are well educated in the options they have for dental treatment. As an endodontist, Dr. Penney specializes in the root cause of dental disease and complications resulting from injuries. An oral surgeon is required if the injury goes beyond the tooth.

Some of the most complex and the most common dental issues start at the root of our teeth, the pulp. Endodontics deals strictly with diseases and injuries dealing with the pulp of the tooth. An endodontist is a specialist in root canal treatments and endodontic therapy of all sorts.

An oral surgeon, also called a maxillofacial surgeon, specializes in procedures dealing with the mouth, jaw, and even the whole face. Many patients who have been in an accident and require reconstructive dental work will see an oral surgeon.

That is the short answer. In reality, the distinction is a little more complicated.

Should I see an endodontist or an oral surgeon?

Your dentist will have a recommendation for you if you need dental work that requires a specialist. While most dental problems stem from the root of the tooth and require endodontic therapy, some dental issues go beyond the tooth. That is when an oral surgeon is needed.

Oral surgeons remove impacted teeth, they help patients who need reconstructive surgery after a facial injury, their specialty is required if complex jaw realignment is needed, and they deal with fractured cheekbones.

Need a tooth extracted? When a tooth needs to be extracted, your dentist will first determine the correct procedure. A simple tooth extraction is required when the tooth that needs to be removed is visible and your dentist can remove it in a single piece. If your tooth is broken into several pieces, or an incision to the gum line is required to remove it, you need an oral surgeon to perform a surgical tooth extraction.  

An oral surgeon goes to dental school and then gets additional education in their specialty, just like an endodontist. To become an oral surgeon, dentists must complete four to eight years of additional training.

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