What Does an ENT Doctor Do?
ENT doctors, formally known as otolaryngologists, are medical specialists who focus on addressing conditions and illnesses impacting the ears, noses, and throats of patients. These highly trained professionals are also surgeons who are able to operate on the head and neck in what are often complicated, delicate procedures.
It is worth noting that ENT doctors tend to concentrate on critical and chronic issues with the ear, nose, and throat. As such, when it comes to more minor concerns affecting this part of the body, it is advisable to consult with urgent care practitioners or primary care doctors instead of seeking the help of a specialist.
Sinus infections can bring on unbearable pain and can leave you feeling constantly sick. If you are experiencing an ongoing sinus infection, or more than 4 sinus episodes a year, you might be struggling with chronic sinusitis. A primary care physician may prescribe numerous over-the-counter medications and decongestants that do not bring lasting relief. To end a sinusitis cycle, it is highly recommended to visit and ENT doctor on your worst day of symptoms.
ENT doctors have the ability to treat a range of conditions impacting the ears. Among these are things such as recurring ear infections, sudden or unexplained hearing loss, congenital ear disorders, and balance disorders such as vertigo that are caused by an issue with the inner ear.
Some of the nose related complaints for which an ENT doctor may be consulted include concerns including chronic sinus infections, nasal polyps that necessitate a biopsy or excision, ongoing jaw pain stemming from sinus pressure, and nasal blockages such as those produced by a deviated septum.
There are numerous throat involved conditions which require the attention of an ENT doctor, and these include bronchitis caused by sinus or ear infections, diseases of the vocal cords, chronic sore throat pain, tonsil inflammation requiring surgical removal, and disorders involving the esophagus.
ENT specialists are also skilled in addressing issues related to the head and neck, including tumors, a wide array of facial trauma, as well as facial deformities that require a precise approach.
When it comes to determining whether it makes more sense to consult with a primary care doctor or an ENT specialist, it is wise to get a strong grasp of the difference between chronic and acute conditions of the ear, nose, and throat. An acute ailment is something that emerges in a sudden manner or something that occurs only once like an isolated case of strep throat. By way of contrast, a persistent lump or a series of recurring ear infections are said to be chronic in nature. Whenever an acute complaint transforms into a recurring or chronic one, it is worth asking your primary physician if you should be referred to an ENT specialist.
When a Visit to an ENT Specialist is in Order
There are many types of health concerns that suggest a visit to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Among these are concerns including sudden, unexplained changes in hearing or hearing loss itself. Bouts of dizziness together with hearing loss or change also indicates a need for special expertise. Anyone who suffers breathing trouble accompanied by wheezing when breathing may be afflicted by a blockage that requires investigation by an ENT doctor.
When a patient is experiencing masses, lumps or tissue infection near the face or neck that are not resolving with the help of antibiotics, a specialist should also be consulted. Recurring sinus, ear, or throat infections should be investigated as well. Ongoing hoarseness, ear infections, sore throats that remain for weeks point to the need for a specialist consult, as do head and neck complaints that demand endoscopy or biopsy in order for a treatment plan to be formulated.
There are a number of head and neck symptoms that can be indicative of a truly serious concern. Anyone experiencing one or more severe complaints needs to secure prompt attention from emergency physicians, and the list of these maladies includes things such as abscesses or lumps in the head or neck that grow quickly, dizziness accompanied by numbness in the limbs, chest pain, confusion, or seizure. Numbness in the face or uncontrolled vomiting are also signs that a serious condition is emerging, and emergency treatment should be sought.
Furthermore, shortness of breath that is marked by a sudden onset and is experienced together with fainting, chest pain, vomiting, or is linked to asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) must also be investigated immediately by emergency physicians or urgent care doctors
What Happens at a Typical Otolaryngology Appointment?
At an initial ENT appointment, the doctor will take a comprehensive medical history and ask questions designed to inform them about the current symptoms you have. Remember to bring a complete list of all medications presently being taken, including any supplements, vitamins, herbal remedies, and the like. Dosage, frequency of use, and other details should also be readily available.
The doctor will then conduct a visual and physical examination of the head and neck area, perhaps using an otoscope to check the ears, nose, and throat. During your first visit, you may be asked to get a CT scan of your sinuses. At Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center, we can perform this in our office on your first visit without having to send you to another office. We will show your results immediately and walk you through your findings. Depending on what these phases of investigation reveal, the doctor may call for additional testing such as a culture test to find out the exact bacteria that is causing the infection, an endoscopy, a biopsy, or other imaging study. He or she may write a prescription for antibiotics or other drugs, or other in-office procedures or surgical or alternative options may be discussed.
We take our time to understand your problems and prescribe a unique treatment plan that will bring lasting relief. We will also explain in detail of our findings and share why you are having problems and how to correct them. You will leave our office feeling hopeful and encouraged with a plan to feel better!
Is a Referral to an ENT Doctor Required?
A referral is not required in order to schedule a visit with our Scottsdale ENT doctors. That said, it is advisable to first consult with a primary care physician who may be able to address your ear, nose, or throat concern without the aid of a specialist. Should additional insight be required, that practitioner can then provide a referral.
It may be that your insurance provider formally requires referrals from a primary care doctor in order for an ENT visit to be covered under your policy. As such, it is wise to inquire with your carrier before making an appointment. At Sinus and Allergy Wellness Center, we accept Medicare and most major insurances. Please call our office to find out if you are covered.
The ENT specialists working within our practice are committed to offering the finest in otolaryngology services. By first seeking answers from a primary care doctor or urgent care physician for issues that may be relatively minor in nature, you can preserve these resources and availability for patients who are most in need of specialized attention.