Root canals are a common dental procedure that can help to save a tooth from decay or infection. In some cases, a general dentist can perform root canals and treat gum disease with deep cleanings. However, if serious root problems arise, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. This is a dental professional who specializes in treating the root, pulp and any pain related to the tooth, as explained by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE).
Endodontists don't just perform root canals. They may also carry out other procedures, such as root canal retreatment and surgery. Root canal treatment can be repeated if a patient has a root canal that later became infected. Other reasons for needing a new treatment include not placing a crown on the previously treated tooth quickly enough or having spaces inside the tooth that the original doctor didn't clean properly.
Root canal retreatment can protect you from losing your tooth and relieve pain. An endodontic procedure allows you to preserve your natural tooth. That means there will be no extraction or implants or bridges. Root canals remove the diseased or decaying part of the tooth, preserving the bone around the tooth and nearby teeth.
Unfortunately, periodontists do not perform root canals because they are gum specialists and a root canal is not a gum procedure. Gum procedures treat dental conditions that affect the gums that surround the teeth, such as gingivitis or periodontitis.