How can I choose the best dentist or endodontist in Singapore for root canal treatment?
I recently visited a dentist who took an X-Ray, and told me that my tooth needed root canal treatment. She told me that it would require 4 - 5 sessions of treatment, and the estimated cost for the root canal treatment and crown would be around $1500 - $1600. I'm very scared of root canal treatment, and want to ensure that it gets done right. What should I be looking out for in choosing my dentist? Thank you!
Thank you for your question. I do get asked this question sometimes and I would be happy to share with you my views.
From the X-Ray that you have provided, it does seem that there is a very high chance that you would require root canal treatment followed by a crown , in order to save your premolar tooth.
Your dentist should also have given you advice on any alternative treatment options, based on the difficulty of your case, so that you can make an informed decision on the next step to take.
Sometimes, if decay has extended far below the gum line, or if there is very little tooth structure left, it is not the best choice to continue with a root canal treatment because of the very guarded or low long term prognosis of the tooth.
In such cases, you may be better off considering to have the tooth extracted, and replaced with a dental implant.
Assuming that you have decided to go for the root canal treatment, then the big question to ask is: " which dentist in Singapore should I go to for root canal treatment ?"
In Singapore, it is legal for all registered General Dentists to perform root canal treatment for their patients. Root canal treatment forms a significant part of undergraduate dental student training in NUS as well as in most if not all undergraduate dental schools/ universities in the world.
However, being legally allowed to perform root canal treatment does not indicate at all whether or not a dentist is skilled and/or experienced at it.
Root canal treatment can vary greatly in terms of technical complexity and difficulty. This ranges from very simple cases which perhaps even a fresh graduate dentist could perform with a high level of success , to very difficult and complex cases which would require intervention by a Endodontist ( root canal specialist ).
I would say that it is the onus of your dentist, and also her professional responsibility, to make an ethical judgement call on whether or not she would be comfortable and confident handling your case instead of referring to a senior general dentist or endodontist.
I would also say that with the advancements of root canal treatment materials, tools ,equipment, machines, CT scans and microscopes; more and more general dentists are able to do more and more challenging cases effectively.
This may be a trend of the future. General dentists who have a special interest in root canal treatment have access to purchasing all of these armamentarium and also access to a myriad of postgraduate root canal training programs, courses and hands-on workshops to hone their skills. As they become more proficient in performing root canal treatment, they may decide to refer less to endodontists.
Do some research and in my opinion, word of mouth recommendations are the most effective. Do also go through online reviews. However, there is also nothing wrong with going straight to an endodontist to get the treatment done.
Endodontists will always have a place to treat the most challenging of cases! There were some previously recommended endodontists on DxD here.
I wish you all the best in finding a good dentist that you can trust and that is experienced and skilled in the field of root canal treatment.
Dr Gerald Tan