Dentists Vs. Endodontists

Pretty much everyone knows what a dentist is.  What exactly is an endodontist though?  How are they different?  What does an endodontist do that a dentist doesn’t?   When should you see one over the other. Let’s try to answer some of these questions.

Understanding the Difference

Realize first that both dentists and endodontists provide dental care.  They just do so in different specialities.  Dentists will typically clean teeth, fill cavities, and place sealants.  Endodontists often do more intricate work like root canals and extractions.  There may be times where you may require dental work that will require the services of both.  Put another way, all endodontists are dentists, however only 3% of dentists are endodontists.

Here’s a synopsis of some basic similarities and differences between the two vocations:

  • Both dentists and endodontists attend a four-year dental school. Endodontists, however, continue with additional training for 2 or more years.
  • Dentists focus on cleanings and fillings, while endodontists perform root canals and treat teeth injuries.
  • Endodontists tend to work with more specialized equipment.  Dentists use mostly digital X-rays. Endodontists use not only X-rays, but also CT scanners and endodontic microscopes. Their purpose is to produce detailed scans of your teeth and their roots to diagnose problems and offer solutions. Did you know: the space inside a root canal is smaller than FDR’s ear on the dime?  Think of the skill and precision it takes to perform that task!

In most cases, your dentist can diagnose these issues during regular cleanings and basic procedures.  The next step would then be to schedule an appointment with an endodontist.


As previously stated, endodontists received post graduate training after dental school.  Their specialties include root canals and retreatments (teeth that are infected after initial root canals.)  They also deal with teeth that have unique or unusual anatomy.

Endodontists perform other procedures besides just root canals.  Some of them include:

  • An Apicoectomy – This is done when an initial root canal fails. The objective of this procedure is to stop any further infection by excising  the tip of the tooth’s root.
  • Traumatic Injury Treatments – Whether from an injury or just having weak or brittle teeth, endodontists fix teeth that are cracked, chipped or broken.
  • Internal bleaching – a procedure done to reverse or improve discoloration after a root canal treatment.

Your dentist may in-fact perform root canals too, but endodontists generally have more experience with these procedures.

Who is Better? 

Neither of these specialists is inherently “better” than the other.  Which one to see really comes down to what your dental needs are.

If your needs exceed what your family dentist can provide, odds are pretty good that the dentist will have an endodontist in their professional network that they are partnered with or at least refer patients to.  The most likely patients to get referred are those that battle frequent infections or contend with severe tooth decay, particularly in the root or pulp.

It’s important to consider dentists and endodontists as partners in protecting your oral health.  While their services differ, their goal is the same, protecting your smile and saving your teeth.

Visiting an Endodontist 

If you are the type that is very engaged in your oral health, a referral from your dentist is not always necessary to see an endodontist.  If you are fairly certain of your condition, you can contact one yourself.  They will do an official diagnosis and lead you on the way to feeling better soon.

What are some reasons you may want to skip the dentist and go straight to the endodontist?  When you have a cracked or damaged tooth and/or have suffered a traumatic injury that knocked a tooth (or teeth) out. Perhaps, you are just in a lot of pain due to severe decay.  Your dentist in this case isn’t going to tell you something you don’t know already.  An endodontist can jump right in and devise a plan to alleviate your pain and hopefully save your teeth.

Endodontist Visit Cost

Because endodontists are specialists in their field with extra schooling, you will find they are usually more expensive than regular dentists.  Their procedures simply cost more.  The results are worth it, however.  It’s hard to put a price on getting rid of pain.  Whenever you can see the best, you should.  Take into account that an endodontist will do about 25 root canals a week….a dentist, two.

With an endodontist, you can expect:

  • Proficient expertise and sound advice
  • The latest and most advanced techniques designed to produce the best possible outcomes
  • Tested strategies to make you feel more at ease during the procedure.

Reach Out to Kelly Road Dental Today!

Do you have more questions? Or maybe you’re searching for a reputable endodontist or a great general dentist? If so, contact Kelly Road Dental today and we’ll be glad to help. Our dentists will perform an exam and discuss your treatment options. Keep in mind that you’re just a phone call away from taking care of your smile.