How Do I Get To See An Endodontist When I Need A Root Canal?

Many times over the years I have been asked the question: “Do I need to see my general dentist first when I need a root canal or can I call you directly?”  Dentistry does not follow the same model as medicine.  With medical issues, MSP – Medical Services Plan of British Columbia – dictates that a patient needs to see a general medical practitioner prior to seeing a specialist.  MSP does this to screen the people who get to see the specialist to minimize unwarranted visits.

In Dentistry there is no third party that regulates how and where patients may seek treatment.  In most cases however, patients who see a root canal specialist are referred by the patient’s general dentist (GD).  Typically a patient would call their GD if they felt they had a problem which needed attention.  The GD would evaluate the patient and if they felt it was warranted, refer the patient to a specialist for the root canal.

Increasingly, in our office, we are seeing more patients who are self-referring.  Often these people have been to see us for treatment previously and are familiar with our office.  Some have been referred by friends or colleagues who have been to our office.  It’s hard to say why this trend is occurring, but may be due to the large amount of information about root canal problems and treatment that is available on the internet.  It may also be due, in part, to the changing nature of the general dental practice where the solo dentist is giving way to dental clinics where patients are seen by multiple dentists depending on the day.

How people get to our office for the most part doesn’t matter.  In all cases, we establish who the patient’ GD is and communicate with the GD as to the nature of the diagnosis and any treatment needed. THE AUTHOR: DR. HOWARD BITTNER, DMD, CAGS

Dr. Bittner was born and raised in the Surrey/Langley area. Following his pre-dental training at Simon Fraser University, he received his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of British Columbia in 1982 and his Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Endodontics from Boston University’s Goldman School of Dental Medicine in 1995.

Dr. Bittner was in private practice in general dentistry for 11 years in Langley prior to his Endodontic specialty training. He has been practicing the Dental Specialty of Endodontics since 1995.

In his free time, Dr. Bittner loves to participate in a variety of sports including most recent, golfing! He also enjoys being a new grandfather, which if you ask him is just the best!


On August 25, 2014, posted in: News for Patients by