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What is an Endodontist? What Do They Do?

Endodontist in a dental office smiling after a root canal procedure

An endodontist is a specialized kind of dentist who has a focus on preserving or saving teeth. In other words, all endodontists are dentists—but not all dentists are endodontists. Becoming an endodontist takes two or more additional years of dental school and specialized education in diagnosing tooth pain as well as root canal treatment.

Endodontist vs. Dentist - What’s the Difference?

Aside from requiring additional education to become an endodontist, a major difference from other dentists is in the procedures that are performed. A dentist performs a wide variety of functions that include teeth cleanings, dental sealants, gum disease treatment, and X-rays, fillings, cosmetic procedures among other tasks. Conversely, an endodontist focuses only on a few specific procedures—primarily root canals. A dentist may also perform root canals, but on average, they perform only a few root canal treatments per week, while endodontists may perform 25 or more. In the rare event where a tooth may become infected after a root canal treatment, endodontists also have specialized training to perform root canal retreatment, where they are able to clean out an infection after the initial procedure.

The main goal of an endodontist is to preserve the patient’s tooth. The additional education that endodontists receive helps them to identify the causes of tooth pain that may otherwise be difficult to diagnose, as well as the most effective treatment options.

One way to think about the differences between dentists and endodontists is that dentists typically work with the part of the tooth that is visible above the gumline. Endodontists will work inside the tooth in order to preserve it from further decay.

Specialized Technology

Another major difference between the endodontics and typical dentistry is that endodontists will often have specialized technology to help them either diagnose or treat tooth pain. It is not uncommon for a dentist to refer you to an endodontist in order to perform root canal treatments, as this specialist will have the equipment that’s best suited to perform a given procedure.

Endodontists and dental teams work together in order to provide the best possible treatment. Dentists are able to identify the issues that a specialist like an endodontist can then perform.

Both endodontists and dentists are incredibly important in caring for your oral health. Their services complement one another in order to provide the best treatment for your needs.

Do I Need a Referral to Visit an Endodontist?

Endodontists do not usually require referrals from your dentist to visit. If you know that there is an issue with your teeth that would benefit from consulting with an endodontist, you can find one in your area and schedule an appointment with him or her immediately. Visiting an endodontist directly can help save time and mitigate any pain you might be experiencing by allowing you to receive treatment as soon as possible.

On your initial visit with the endodontist, all necessary information will be gathered. This may include a CT scan or X-rays to determine the type of treatment you need. In the event your diagnosis does not require an endodontist, they may refer you to a general dentist to complete treatment.

Cost of Seeing an Endodontist

Because endodontists have specialized training, treatment may be more expensive than that of a typical dentist. When you visit an endodontist, it is usually to receive the best care with the highest chance of saving a tooth that might otherwise have to be removed. When visiting the endodontist, you are paying for the specialized skill and technology that’s available. Because procedures such as root canals are not considered as being cosmetic, it is likely that your visits and any specialized dental work may be covered by insurance.

Learn More at Dental365

Dental365 offers treatment from all dental specialists—including endodontists. Our comprehensive dental team can recommend you to the best dental practitioner for your needs. Our trained teams have the best dental training to provide all forms of treatment that include endodontic procedures such as root canals. Book an appointment by phone, or contact us through a form on our contact page today.


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