Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

When you experience tooth pain or discomfort, your first point of contact is usually your dentist. However, certain conditions, especially those affecting your dental pulp or the inner aspects of your teeth, may require the expertise of an endodontist.

In this blog, we will explore the unique roles and responsibilities of these two dental professionals and how they work together to maintain oral health.

Key Takeaway

A general dentist provides comprehensive dental care. An endodontist receives additional training and specializes in treating the inner tooth or dental pulp. Knowing whether you need to see a general dentist or an endodontist can help you take better care of your oral health.

Understanding the Roles: Dentists vs. Endodontists

Understanding the difference between a dentist and an endodontist can help you seek the right care at the right time.

What is a General Dentist?

A general dentist is your primary care dental provider. This professional performs a broad range of dental duties, which include:

  • Preventive dental care, such as regular cleanings and check-ups
  • Restorative procedures like fillings, crowns, and bridges
  • Cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers
  • Educate patients about oral health and disease prevention
  • Detect potential problems to prevent more serious issues
  • Perform surgical procedures on the teeth, bone, and soft tissues of the oral cavity

What is an Endodontist

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes in diagnosing and treating dental pulp diseases and conditions that affect the inside of the tooth. The primary goal of an endodontist is to save the natural tooth whenever possible through endodontic treatment.

Apart from performing all the duties of a regular dentist, an endodontist also:

  • Diagnoses and treats root canal infections
  • Performs root canal therapy to save and repair damaged or infected teeth
  • Performs endodontic surgery, such as apicoectomy and root-end resection
  • Manages traumatic dental injuries, including displaced or avulsed (knocked out) teeth

Endodontist vs Dentist for Oral Care

There are key differences between dentists and endodontists, although both play essential roles in dental health.


After completing four years of dental school, endodontists receive an additional 2-3 years of education that focuses extensively on diseases of the dental pulp and how to treat them.

This advanced training includes a detailed study of the anatomy of the inner tooth, the diagnosis and management of dental pain, and complex root canal techniques and procedures. They also learn about advanced surgical methods, such as microsurgery, which employs microscopes and other sophisticated instruments to perform precise treatments not typically covered in general dental education.

Treatments Provided

While general dentists can handle most basic dental procedures, such as cleanings, fillings, and extractions, endodontists specialize in treating the soft tissues inside the tooth.

Endodontists are specially skilled in performing root canal treatments, a standard procedure to remove infected or inflamed pulp, which can save the tooth. To treat persistent infections or complications, endodontists can also perform endodontic surgery, such as apicoectomies and root-end resections. 

They are also trained to handle traumatic dental injuries, including those leading to nerve damage. Endodontists can even install dental implants as a long-lasting solution for missing teeth.

Technology and Equipment Used

Endodontists use advanced technology and equipment to diagnose and treat complex dental problems. They have a deep understanding of the tooth’s anatomy, which helps them locate tiny root canals that general dentists might miss.

General dentists often rely on digital x-rays during routine examinations. In addition to digital x-rays, endodontists use more advanced technology, such as endodontic microscopes and CT scan machines, to diagnose and treat patients accurately.

When Should You See an Endodontist?

You should visit a regular dentist for routine check-ups, cleanings, and minor dental issues.

You should see an endodontist when:

  • You experience severe tooth pain, especially when biting or chewing
  • Your regular dentist suspects a problem with the dental pulp during a routine check-up
  • A tooth has been damaged due to trauma, and the nerve is affected
  • You have an abscess or infection in the root canal of your tooth

Morris Dental Solutions: Your Endodontist in Buffalo Grove, IL

Whether you need routine dental care or specialized endodontic treatment, understanding the distinct roles of dentists and endodontists can guide you to the appropriate professional. Remember, your smile deserves expert care, so don’t hesitate to seek the best treatment for your dental needs.

At Morris Dental Solutions, we offer comprehensive dental care under one roof. Our team includes Dr. Spina, our general dentist, and Dr. Rosenbaum, our skilled endodontist. We provide routine and specialized dental care in a welcoming atmosphere, using cutting-edge technology and compassionate care. From cleanings to implant restorations and cosmetic dentistry, our team is committed to helping you achieve the smile of your dreams.
If you are searching for ‘root canal therapy in Buffalo Grove, IL’ or an ‘endodontist near me,’ trust the experts at Morris Dental Solutions. Call (847) 215-1511 or complete the online booking form.

Skip to content