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Endodontist vs Oral Surgeon: Understanding the Difference and When to See Each Specialist

Rooted in Expertise: Navigating the Differences between Endodontists and Oral Surgeons for Optimal Dental Care

By Max RubyPublished about a year ago 3 min read

When it comes to dental health, there are various types of dental professionals available to help you maintain and improve the health of your teeth and gums. Two types of specialists that are often confused are endodontists and oral surgeons. While both professionals have similar training and focus on oral health, they have different specialties and roles in the dental world. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what an endodontist is and how they differ from an oral surgeon.

What is an Endodontist?

Endodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental pulp diseases and related disorders. This means that endodontists are specialists in the root canal procedure, which involves removing the infected or inflamed pulp tissue inside a tooth and filling the space with a special material to protect the tooth from further damage.

Endodontists receive advanced training in root canal treatment, and they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to handle even the most complex cases. In addition to root canal therapy, endodontists also specialize in treating dental trauma, cracked teeth, and other conditions that affect the inner workings of the teeth.

What is an Oral Surgeon?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects of the oral and maxillofacial regions. Oral surgeons perform a wide range of surgical procedures, including extractions, dental implant placement, jaw surgery, and corrective surgery for congenital deformities.

While oral surgeons do not typically perform root canals, they are often called upon to extract teeth that cannot be saved by other means. They are also involved in the treatment of oral and facial tumors, as well as other conditions that require surgical intervention.

What is an Endodontist vs Oral Surgeon

The primary difference between endodontists and oral surgeons is the scope of their practice. Endodontists focus solely on the treatment of the dental pulp and related conditions, while oral surgeons specialize in surgical procedures involving the mouth, jaw, and face.

Another key difference between the two specialties is the training required to become certified. Endodontists must complete a minimum of two years of additional training beyond dental school, which includes coursework and clinical experience in root canal therapy and related procedures. Oral surgeons, on the other hand, typically complete a four- to six-year residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which includes both medical and dental training.

When Should You See an Endodontist vs. an Oral Surgeon?

Knowing when to see an endodontist vs. an oral surgeon depends on the nature of your dental problem. If you are experiencing tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, or swelling in the gums, you may need to see an endodontist for a root canal procedure. However, if you have a broken or severely decayed tooth that cannot be saved, or you need dental implant surgery, you may need to see an oral surgeon.

It's important to note that both endodontists and oral surgeons work closely with general dentists to provide comprehensive dental care. Your general dentist can refer you to the appropriate specialist if you need more specialized treatment.


In summary, endodontists and oral surgeons both play important roles in maintaining oral health. While endodontists specialize in root canal therapy and related procedures, oral surgeons focus on surgical procedures involving the mouth, jaw, and face. If you are experiencing dental problems, it's important to consult with your general dentist to determine if you need to see an endodontist, an oral surgeon, or another dental specialist to ensure you receive the appropriate care.


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