Endodontist vs. Dentist: Which to Choose?

When you have tooth pain, dentists and endodontists can provide treatment that relieves this discomfort and prevents additional problems from occurring. However, there are certain differences between the treatments that dentists and endodontists offer. It’s important to understand how these treatments differ to ensure that you receive proper care to ease tooth pain.

Dentist Treatments

Dentists provide a wide range of care to help people maintain healthy teeth and gums, such as cleanings and exams. They also do root canal procedures and other treatments that are needed when patients have tooth decay or other tooth problems. For example, dentists can do tooth extractions for advanced decay or provide fillings for more minor cases of decay. Some dentists also provide cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening or veneers.

When dentists determine that a patient needs a root canal, they might perform the procedure at the office. However, some dentists refer patients to an endodontist instead. While dentists can perform root canals, they are not considered specialists for this type of treatment. Dentists know the basics of doing these procedures since they receive some endodontic training, but endodontists have more advanced training.


Endodontic Treatments

Endodontists specialize in diagnosing the causes of tooth pain and providing root canals or other endodontic procedures as treatment. These involve treating the interior part of an affected tooth in order to prevent infections from occurring and ease symptoms. These treatments also aim to preserve the natural tooth, so that patients don’t need to have it extracted and replaced.

Root canals are among the more common procedures that endodontists perform. This procedure involves removing decayed or diseased pulp from the interior of the affected tooth, then filling it in and placing a cap or crown on it. Endodontists do this as a way to relieve discomfort caused by tooth decay and stop it from getting worse. This type of procedure also allows patients to avoid having their tooth pulled and needing to get it replaced with an artificial tooth.


Benefits of Seeing an Endodontist for a Root Canal

Although both dentists and endodontists can perform root canals, there are important advantages to seeing an endodontist for this type of treatment. These benefits include the following:

  • Specialized care
    Endodontists do not provide cleanings, fillings, and other types of dental care as dentists do. Instead, they focus on providing treatments that deal with the interior of a decayed or diseased tooth. Having this type of specialized care means endodontists perform root canals more frequently than dentists. This provides them with more root canal experience over time compared to dentists. In general, dentists might only perform a couple of root canals per week, while endodontists typically perform around 25 root canals each week.


  • Latest endodontic equipment
    Since endodontists specialize in performing root canals and similar types of treatment, they typically have more advanced equipment, technology, and tools available. This equipment might include microscopes or ultrasound instrumentation that offers a better view inside teeth, as well as more accuracy. Endodontists might also have 3D or digital imaging technology for more detailed information about the affected area. Using this equipment helps ensure that endodontists are able to do root canals properly, safely, and successfully.


  • Advanced endodontic education
    While dentists receive some training in endodontics at dental school, endodontists receive an advanced education. After receiving an education at dental school, endodontists need to have up to 3 years of education in endodontics. This education provides them with a more in-depth understanding and knowledge of diseases and conditions that affect the interior of teeth, as well as the types of procedures used as treatment. With this education, endodontists can perform more complex root canals as needed. Dentists usually don’t have this kind of knowledge or experience.


  • Prompt care
    Patients who go to a dentist for a root canal might have to wait to have it done depending on availability, since dentists see many other patients and provide several services. Those who see an endodontist for a root canal can usually have emergency care done if needed instead of having to wait.


If you need endodontic care, please contact us for an appointment with our Board-certified endodontist. We offer endodontics, such as root canals and other procedures, to help improve your oral health and ease tooth pain.