What is the Difference Between an Endodontist and a Periodontist?

added on: August 27, 2019

There are so many different kinds of doctors that it’s easy to get them confused. Nephrologists, ophthalmologists, and pulmonologists all kind of sound the same to people who don’t work in the medical field. In dentistry, we don’t have quite as many strange titles as general medicine, but we still have our fair share.

For a lot of our patients, the difference between endodontist and periodontist is the most puzzling. The two words look and sound similar but they couldn’t be more different.

What’s an endodontist?

If you’re going to an endodontist, you’re probably experiencing some pretty severe pain in a particular tooth. You might have some signs of tooth decay and a dentist has most likely told you that a filling won’t treat it.

If you haven’t already guessed, endodontists are root canal specialists. Root canals are routine surgeries but they take a lot of skill to do correctly — especially if the tooth is in particularly bad shape. Endodontists focus solely on root canals so they can become as experienced as possible at handling them.

At Stanley Dentistry, Dr. Rob and Dr. David are our root canal experts.

root canal therapy chart

What’s a periodontist?

Periodontists mostly focus on the gums — not the teeth. They prevent and treat periodontal disease, which is an infection in the gums. Periodontists also frequently place implants, though oral surgeons and general dentists can do that as well.

Gum disease is extremely common which is why dentistry has a whole branch dedicated to it. Most any dentist can treat periodontal disease but if you have persistent and painful symptoms, you may need to go to a periodontist.

periodontal disease illustration

At Stanley, we do perio-charting during every regular cleaning. If the hygienist finds that the pockets in the gums are deep (a major sign of periodontal disease), they’ll call in one of our four doctors for an exam. Once the doctor gives the okay, the hygienists will scale the gums, gently removing any infection.