Comparing Periodontists to Endodontists
A career as a periodontist or endodontist may appeal to individuals with strong communication skills and attention to detail. Although both jobs deal with diagnosing and treating dental issues, they provide different services. A periodontist deals with issues like oral inflammation and gum disease, while an endodontist deals with issues related to the interior of teeth. The primary similarities and differences between these two patient-centered careers are outlined below.
|Job Title||Education Requirements||Median Salary (2017)*||Job Growth (2016-2026)**|
|Periodontist||Doctoral degree||$161,688||12% (Dentists, all other specialists)|
|Endodontist||Doctoral degree||$201,438||12% (Dentists, all other specialists)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Responsibilities of Periodontists vs. Endodontists
Periodontists and endodontists both specialize in treating patients' oral health issues. A periodontist identifies and treats periodontal issues, such as severe gum disease, and outfits patients with dental implants. In contrast, an endodontist only focuses on endodontic treatments, such as root canals and other procedures designed to preserve patients' natural teeth.
A periodontist assists patients suffering from various gum issues or associated tissues of the teeth. They can operate their own practice or serve as a partner in an established practice. General job responsibilities may include working with dentists or other healthcare providers to develop comprehensive treatment plans, performing examinations on recall patients, and providing nonsurgical treatments like laser therapy. Periodontists will need a doctoral degree from an accredited dental institution, completion of a certified periodontal program and residency, along with state licensure.
Job responsibilities of a periodontist include:
- Performing procedures like root planing, root surface debridement, and root scaling
- Conducting surgical procedures such as guided tissue regeneration and modified flap procedures
- Collaborating with restorative dentists to plan and place dental implants
- Reconstructing bone in preparation for dental implants and modifying gum tissues
An endodontist assists patients with damage to their teeth pulp and the nerves and tissues around teeth roots. According to the American Association of Endodontists, less than three percent of dentists are endodontists, which makes this a highly specialized field. General job duties can involve treating issues like pulpal stones and dilacerated roots, performing pulp capping or pulp removal, and surgically removing pathologic tissue from teeth. Endodontists must complete a doctoral degree and an endodontic residency and also obtain state licensure. They can open their own dental practice or join an established dental office.
Job responsibilities of an endodontist include:
- Analyzing teeth and gums to diagnose and determine appropriate treatment for issues
- Collaborating with general dentists to identify and treat hairline root fractures
- Assisting patients who lost teeth by reinserting them or outfitting them with dental implants
- Applying bleach to patients' teeth to improve the look of their natural color
If you would like to become a periodontist, consider a career as an orthodontist, as both careers involve assisting patients with dental issues. Individuals interested in a career as an endodontist may be interested in working as an oral surgeon, since both involve dental surgical procedures.