A scenario that sometimes applies is this. You'd have to quiz your dentist to know if it applies in your case.

1) "a fistula and gum boil" (technically a sinus tract) are often associated with teeth that are necrotic (contain no live nerve tissue).
2) With necrotic teeth, a common cause of acute flare-up is when the infection inside the tooth becomes active and produces increasing levels of pus. This causes tissue swelling. It also causes a buildup of pressure that can cause pain symptoms.
3) When a sinus tract is present, the pus instead can vent off. If so, there will be no significant buildup of pus, thus minimal symptoms.

In regard to timing, it's your dentists obligation to take whatever steps they feel are necessary to minimize the potential that you will experience problems/added complications during the waiting period when definitive treatment can be performed (whoever provides that treatment). In light of the scenario describe above, possibly they feel that as-is the tooth represents low-risk for the 3-week period.

While we don't know your situation, but especially considering that your dentist seems to feel that it is appropriate, a 3-week wait doesn't seen unreasonable and probably (almost certainly) lies within what frequently occurs (with initial treatment, when needed, from your dentist as discussed above).

The only research paper that we could find that specifically discussed the issue of waiting periods for an endodontist's attention involved the situation were few endodontists were available. In that case, and while no doubt not ideal, a substantial number of cases were being managed during a 30 to 90-plus day waiting period.

While no one could know for certain (without having some historic of x-rays, or your having first noticed the sinus tract at some point previously), most dentists would probably guess that the additional 3-week period while your tooth is associated with infection is short compared to the length of time the tooth's original endodontic problems first started.

The larger question to us would be who can best treat your tooth. We're not so sure that by their recommendation that your dentist isn't implying that an endodontist might make the better choice.

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