Career Development

Endodontist Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

The dental field is broken down into various sub-specialties, one of which is endodontics. Endodontists are the dentists who focus on the hard pulp tissue that lies within your teeth. The hard pulp can be described as the living root structure.

The dental field is broken down into various sub-specialties, one of which is endodontics. Endodontists are the dentists who focus on the hard pulp tissue that lies within your teeth. The hard pulp can be described as the living root structure.

They perform procedures on this area of the tooth to save the damaged tooth from further deterioration, to alleviate pain, and/or to treat an infection. If you’ve ever had one or two “root canals” you’ve already experienced this type of procedure. It is usually done with anesthesia and can be done either in a dentist’s office or hospital setting; however, depending on the severity, it may need to be performed in surgery.

Read on to learn more about what it’s like to be an endodontist and what it takes to become one yourself.

Endodontist Job Duties

Endodontists are responsible for a wide range of duties, including:

  • Examining a patient to determine the cause and extent of tooth damage
  • Preparing x-rays and other dental tests to examine teeth structures
  • Explaining treatment options to patients and their families
  • Performing root canals to repair cavities in teeth or remove dead tissue from inside the root canals using specialized equipment such as ultrasonic devices, computerized scanners, and dental drills
  • Injecting local anesthetic to numb nerves located in gum tissue surrounding teeth 
  • Preparing the teeth for crowns, bridges, dentures, and other restorative work using a variety of tools including drills and hand instruments like files and rasps
  • Maintaining comprehensive patient records and files 

Endodontist Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for endodontists is $199,163. The highest earners make over $335,000 per year.

The number of jobs for endodontists is expected to grow at an average pace over the next decade. More and more people will require dental care as the population ages and as public health programs expand to cover dental work.

Endodontist Job Requirements

The following education, training and certification requirements are needed to become a licensed endodontist:

Education: An endodontist must have a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from an accredited dental school. In addition to studying basic sciences and clinical procedures, the focus is on oral anatomy, oral pathology, and biochemistry. Most schools have a special residency program for endodontics. Another 2 years of full-time training in a general dentistry program is required before graduating from a specialized endodontics program.

Training: After earning their degree, the majority of new endodontists choose to pursue two years of additional training in an accredited residency program. During this time, they work closely with other dentists and dentistry specialists to gain valuable experience in their chosen field. This program is required for all endodontists even if they have already received specialized education in the field. Some programs also require participants to collect continuing education credits throughout their training.

Certifications: Endodontists must pass a written and clinical exam referred to as the National Board Dental Examinations, as administered through the American Dental Association. They must also obtain a license from their state to practice dentistry.

Endodontist Skills

Endodontists must have the following skills:

Strong communication skills: An endodontist must be able to explain complicated procedures in a way that is easy for patients to understand.

Good judgment: An endodontist must be able to make good decisions quickly, such as whether a tooth can be saved or if it needs to be extracted.

Attention to detail: The work of an endodontist requires precision and accuracy, especially when making molds of teeth and fitting them with crowns.

Scientific knowledge: A good working knowledge of science will help you better understand the causes of tooth decay and gum disease so that you can more effectively treat these conditions. It will also help you stay up-to-date on new developments in the field of dentistry.

Good hand-eye coordination: Endodontists need steady hands and good eye-hand coordination in order to perform delicate procedures such as root canal therapy. 

Endodontist Work Environment

The work environment for an endodontist consists of a variety of settings, including private practice, hospital-based clinics, universities, and public or community dental clinics. However, the majority of practicing endodontists are located in office-based private practices. Office-based endodontists typically have flexible schedules which allow them to tend to patients during regular business hours. 

The daily schedule is largely determined by patient caseloads, with clinical services performed on weekdays, evenings and weekends. There may be time allotted during the day for training/education, meetings, research activities or administrative tasks. Some endodontists choose to support their local communities through volunteerism (e.g., providing free dental service days).

Endodontist Career Advancement

Some endodontists may choose to specialize and become a periodontist (an endodontist who focuses on gums and jawbone) or a pediatric endodontist (one who treats young children). Or, they may decide to open their own endodontic practice where they can work independently. Another option is to become an industry consultant. You can start your own practice or work with an established consultant until you gain more independence.

Endodontists might also choose to work for a university or community college teaching the next generation of endodontists. They can advance in their academic field by becoming an associate dean of a dental school.

Endodontist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how endodontists work. Endodontists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Increase of Endodontic Procedures

Endodontic procedures are becoming more popular due to advances in technology that have made them more accessible to patients.

For example, high-tech lasers can be used to cut or reshape root canal systems, which were previously accessed by hand.

This makes endodontic procedures safer and less invasive than ever before, making them a preferred method for treating tooth decay today. 

Increasing Popularity of Pediatric Endodontics

Pediatric endodontics is a relatively new field of dentistry that focuses on the treatment of young patients. While it’s long been known that young patients have different dental needs than adults, it was only recently discovered that children have special dental issues as well. In fact, studies have shown that 30% of adults with untreated tooth decay as children still had symptoms as adults. 

Increased Focus on Green Practices

With the growing concern about the environment, many endodontists are moving towards more environmentally friendly practices. For example, waterless dental treatments are becoming increasingly popular because they use less water and fewer chemicals. Furthermore, patients may be more willing to accept this option if it is affordable or covered by their insurance.

Endodontists can reduce their carbon footprint by investing in equipment that is energy efficient or by supporting green organizations that seek to help them protect the environment. 

How to Become an Endodontist

1. Planning Your Career Path

If you’re interested in a career as an endodontist, it’s important to understand that the profession requires many years of education and training beyond your undergraduate degree.

The most successful endodontists are able to create strong relationships with their patients. They communicate effectively, listen attentively, and treat each patient with respect and compassion. If you want to be an endodontist, focus on these key areas so that you can build strong bonds with your patients.

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for endodontist positions should demonstrate a passion for the field as well as knowledge of dentistry and dental hygiene.

Since you will be working with patients directly, it’s also important to list your interpersonal skills. Include details about how you work with patients on the dental chair. You can also emphasize your communication skills by describing instances where you were able to effectively communicate complex concepts to patients or colleagues.

Endodontists are required to have completed post-graduate training in order to be licensed. It is useful to include your post-graduate degree or certificate, as well as any relevant clinical experience that you may have. Be sure to include your certification information if available.

3. Applying for Jobs

For endodontists, the job search process can be a little more complex than other fields. You should become actively involved in the endodontic community. Attend conferences and connect with other endodontists; read journals and listen to podcasts related to your field. 

Many dentists and organizations will post job listings on their websites and in their newsletters. To get your foot in the door, we recommend reaching out to people in your network and connecting with potential employers directly.

4. Ace the Interview

When you‘re preparing for an endodontist interview, make sure to thoroughly research the practice and the community where the job is located. If you are interviewing for a position in a rural area, research the types of outdoor activities available in the region to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the job opportunity and the location.

Review common endodontic procedures that you might be asked about during your interview. You should be ready to explain the steps involved in treating any particular condition. In addition, make sure to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and good eye contact. Remember to dress professionally and come prepared to discuss your interest in working at this particular practice.


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