Most patients with the occasional sore throat or stuffy nose will go to their primary care physician for treatment. In some cases, however, their symptoms may warrant a closer examination by an otolaryngologist – a physician who specializes in the ear, nose, and throat (ENT).
In this blog, the ear, nose, and throat doctors at DFW Sinus Select will explain when you should see an ENT.
What is an ENT doctor?
Otolaryngology is the medical specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions in the ear, nose, and throat region. After graduating from medical school, an ENT doctor receives additional education and training in order to specialize in treating illnesses in these areas of the body.
Board-certified ENT doctors have completed four years of college, four years of medical school, and a minimum of five years of specialty training. They must also pass an examination administered by the American Board of Otolaryngology, and some ENT doctors also receive additional training to specialize in certain areas.
They can provide medical or surgical treatment in order to manage particular conditions as warranted. Depending on the problem being treated, medical treatment may be tried first, and if it’s not effective enough, surgery may be recommended.
ENT doctors are experts in both the medical and surgical management of the following:
- Conditions of the ear
- Conditions of the nose
- Conditions of the throat
- ENT-related conditions of the head and neck (such as infections, tumors, and trauma-related conditions)
When should you see an ENT doctor?
You might be referred to an ENT doctor by your primary care physician, and you’re free to use that doctor or select your own. You can also make an appointment with an ENT doctor on your own.
A good rule of thumb to follow is if your ear, nose, or throat symptoms are ongoing, then you probably need to see an ENT doctor. For example, you may have sinus issues that continue even after attempts to treat them. Simple matters usually clear up fairly quickly, so if your symptoms are lingering or go away only to repeatedly return, the cause may be more than a virus or other temporary issue that will clear up on its own.
In some cases, symptoms related to your ears, nose, or throat may require a specialized physician in order to identify their specific cause. For example, a sore throat can be caused by postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the back of your throat), gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), snoring or sleep apnea, or other causes. An ENT doctor can pinpoint the cause, which is the first step in receiving effective treatment.
Any of the following symptoms could signal the need to see an ENT doctor:
- Persistent ringing in your ears
- Difficulty hearing
- Pain above and below your eyes (which may indicate a possible sinus infection)
- Frequent headaches
- A deviated septum
- Broken or otherwise injured nose
- Nasal obstruction
- Pus or unusual discharge
- Trouble swallowing
- Frequent sore throats
- Snoring and/or sleep apnea
- Breathing problems
- Nasal allergies
Where can I find the best ENT doctors in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?
DFW Sinus Select is a medical practice dedicated to the accurate diagnosis and effective treatment of disorders related to the treatment of disorders related to the nose and sinuses.
At DFW Sinus Select, our board-certified physicians provide the highest quality of state-of-the-art care combined with a commitment to ensuring the most comfortable, personalized experience possible for our patients.
You’ll receive the highest quality of care from DFW Sinus Select’s experienced team of sinus experts at one of our 10 convenient practice locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Schedule an appointment with a DFW Sinus Select ENT doctor today!