How to Become an Endodontist

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Endodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the pulp of teeth and the surrounding tissues of the roots of teeth. Endodontists are specially trained dental professionals that specialize on providing treatment to a variety of patients with conditions affecting the pulp and roots of teeth.

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Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does an endodontist do?

Endodontists examine, diagnose, and provide treatment to conditions and diseases that affect the pulp, root, nerve, tissue, blood vessels, and other internal parts of teeth. They assess the teeth, gums, and related tissues to diagnose the condition. They then consult with patients to discuss treatment options. With the patient, endodontists develop treatment plans such as root canals, removing pulp and tissue, and replacing infected tissue. They also prescribe medications to help ease pain. Some endodontists reinsert teeth that have been knocked out or implant artificial teeth. Others perform simple procedures including bleaching teeth to restore whiteness. Endodontists often use a variety of instruments and diagnostic equipment.

What kind of training does an endodontist need?

Endodontists must complete a bachelor degree and attend dental school. All dental schools require applicants to receive a satisfactory score on the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). Dental school provides intensive classroom instruction and supervised clinical experiences. Prospective endodontists often complete courses in biology, physics, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, and laboratory techniques. Endodontists must complete specialty training in endodontics after completing dental school. All states require endodontists to become licensed to practice. Licensing requirements include graduation from an approved dental school, completion of specialty training, and passing a written and practical examination. Most endodontists become board certified from the American Assocation of Endodontists. Endodontists must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast with advancements in the field. Many endodontists participate in workshops, seminars, and conferences.

What are the prospects for a career as an endodontist?

Employment of endodontists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 15% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for endodontic services will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for endodontists with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace endodontists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do endodontists make?

As of January 2010, endodontists with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $118,467 and $196,660. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $90,000 and $275,000 (2).

A career as an endodontist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in endodontics and treating a variety of patients. Manual dexterity, detail orientation, good eye-hand coordination, and excellent diagnostic ability are necessary characteristics. Endodontists must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to help patients feel at ease. They must be quick on their feet and be able to make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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