What Is the Difference Between a Dentist & a Endodontist?

Endodontists are a type of dentist who have specialized in an area of dental health. Learn more about how general dentists and endodontists compare in their profession, along with information on salary and projected job growth.

Comparing Dentists to Endodontists

Dentists and endodontists both work with patients to help them maintain healthy teeth. General dentists primarily focus on diagnosing and treating teeth issues, while endodontists work with patients who need root canals. Here you can compare these two oral health professionals.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Dentist Doctoral or Professional Degree $153,900 (2016)* 18%
Endodontist Doctoral of Professional Degree $200,371 (2017)** 9% (Dentist, all other specialists)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

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Responsibilities of Dentists vs. Endodontists

Endodontists are a type of dentist that specializes in root canal therapy. Both dentists and endodontists provide advice to patients on how to take care of their teeth. They also diagnose and treat oral health problems. Dentists remove decay and fill cavities for patients. General dentists can do some tooth repair, though there are other dentists that specialize in different types of repair. Endodontists work more specifically with infected teeth by removing the nerves and blood supply.


Dentists are responsible for ensuring the overall oral health of a patient's teeth. They clean and repair teeth along with providing education to patients about healthy teeth and gums. Dentists must be patient as they spend a lot of time on a specific person determining a course of treatment. They also work with a variety of people that include children and adults who may be nervous to get their teeth worked on. Dentists usually run their own practice, so they must have exceptional leadership skills to effectively run their business and hire employees. General dentists can specialize in a variety of areas if they choose to.

Job responsibilities of a dentist include:

  • Removing teeth
  • Whitening teeth
  • Giving anesthetics for procedures
  • Looking over X-rays to determine treatment needed
  • Creating models for dental appliances


Endodontists work with patients who have infected teeth that need root canal therapy. Patients are usually referred to them by their general dentist. They execute a variety of procedures to help patients keep their natural teeth, instead of giving false teeth. Though they try to keep natural teeth sometimes they must remove teeth and tissue. Endodontists complete root surgery or therapy on a patient in a small space, so they need to do well working with their hands. They also spend a lot of time bending over their patient's mouth to fix tooth problems.

Job responsibilities of an endodontist include:

  • Examining X-rays to determine procedure and treatment
  • Educating patients on oral health
  • Giving anesthetics to patients before procedure
  • Prescribing any medications needed after procedure
  • Repairing teeth
  • Managing other tooth injuries

Related Careers

Those pursuing a career as a dentist may also like working as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists focus on the overall cleaning and checking of teeth and gums, rather than diagnosing and treating dental problems. Individuals leaning towards a career as an endodontist might be interested in other types of surgical careers such as a pediatric surgeon. Pediatric surgeons execute surgeries on children, while endodontists work on teeth and gums.

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