If you need a root canal, are hoping to save a tooth, or have unidentified tooth pain, it is important you understand the differences between endodontists and dentists. Below are the seven differences (and some similarities) between these two dental professions. 

#1 All Endodontists are Dentists But Not All Dentists are Endodontists 

While all endodontists are dentists, only 3% of dentists are endodontists. Endodontists have completed the required four years of education to become dentists. They then continued on to two more years of schooling to specialize in issues pertaining to the interior of teeth (root canals and pain stemming from inside the tooth). 

#2 Endodontists Specialize in Root Canals and Saving Teeth

While endodontists are most commonly known for doing root canals, some like to say their specialty is “saving teeth”. From our Richmond, Virginia offices, we perform a range of services related to root canals and dental preservation including: root canal therapy, root canal retreatment, and root canal surgery. We also fix cracked teeth and perform GentleWave® deep cleaning.

#3 Endodontists on Average Perform 25 Root Canals Per Week, Dentists Typically Do 2

Dentists are trained to do root canals. However, they typically do far fewer than endodontists. While dentists on average do two root canals per week, endodontists do 25. 

#4 Endodontists Don’t Clean Teeth or Do Fillings

Most dentists have a broad spectrum of services they offer for both oral health and aesthetic enhancements. Conversely, endodontists focus solely on diagnosing and treating issues related to root canals and pain originating from the interior of teeth. 

#5 Endodontists Have Advanced Technology

In our Richmond, Virginia office, and in endodontist offices around the country, endodontists use some of the most advanced technology available. Because we focus on one aspect of oral health, we can also focus all of our resources and time on acquiring the best technology for it. 

#6 Doing Root Canals All Day, Everyday Means Endodontists are Very Good and Efficient with Them

Endodontists chose to specialize so they could be exceptional in one specific area of dentistry. Not surprisingly, because of this focus, they are very skilled and efficient in their area of expertise. This level of expertise can be a bit different in comparison to dentists who perform a variety of treatments and procedures for both oral health and dental aesthetics.

#7 Many Dentists Refer Patients to Endodontists

While all dentists are trained to do root canals, not all dentists choose to perform them. Sometimes it is because the issue is complicated enough that is necessitates the insight of a specialist, and sometimes it is because dentists prefer to focus their practice on procedures that don’t include root canals. 


Looking for a specialist to support you with a root canal treatment? Contact our Richmond, Virginia office today to schedule an appointment  and learn how we can make your root canal as comfortable, quick, and efficient as possible.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.