Why Has Your Dentist Referred You to an Endodontist?

If you need root canal work on one of your teeth, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist for specialist treatment. Why is your dentist referring you to a specialist and how does this affect your treatment costs?

Specialist Root Canal Training

According to the Better Health Channel, all dentists learn how to do root canal work during their training and can take on this kind of treatment. For general dentists, this is part of their overall training, potentially making up just one part of their everyday work. After qualifying as a dentist, an endodontist will take post-graduate training to qualify as a specialist in endodontics and will only work in this area of dentistry.

Your Dentist's Experience With Root Canals

In some cases, dentists are happy to work on regular root canals; others prefer to leave this kind of treatment to the experts. Your dentist may also refer you to an endodontist for specialist treatment in the following circumstances:

  • You have an unusual or complicated problem with your root canal or pulp.
  • You have had an accident that has badly damaged your tooth.
  • Your dentist feels unable to save a badly infected tooth but feels that an endodontist may be able to help.

Tip: If your dentist wants to extract a tooth rather than look at root canal treatments, it may be worth consulting an endodontist before you agree to your dentist's line of treatment. An endodontist's specialist training and experience may save some teeth that dentists think are beyond help.

Root Canal Cost Comparison

Every root canal case is different, and it is difficult to exactly predict the costs of endodontic treatment, whether you are treated by your dentist or an endodontist. According to Dental Guide Australia, you may pay between $100-200 for an initial assessment visit to an endodontist with subsequent root canal treatment costing between $1,700-2,700.

The guide estimates that work done by a general dentist may be up to 30% cheaper. However, if your dentist is unwilling to take on the treatment or you prefer to see a specialist, any extra costs may be balanced by the fact that the endodontist may be better placed to save your tooth.

Warning: Bear in mind that you'll also need to pay for restorative treatment after a root canal, such as tooth filling or crowning. Endodontists typically don't do this work, focusing only on the root canal treatment itself. You may be referred back to your dentist for this part of the treatment.