Are Endodontists and Oral Surgeons the Same Thing?

Learn about the differences between an endodontist & an oral surgeon & how they specialize in different areas of dentistry.

Are Endodontists and Oral Surgeons the Same Thing?

The main difference between an oral surgeon and an endodontist is that endodontists focus on preserving sore or diseased teeth, while oral surgeons collaborate with dentists to provide comprehensive care for complex mouth and face issues. An oral surgeon attends dental school and then receives additional education in their specialty, just like an endodontist. To become an oral surgeon, dentists must complete four to eight years of extra training. Both endodontists and oral surgeons prioritize caring for gums, teeth, and mouth.

Unlike general dentists, both endodontists and oral surgeons have received specialized training in different areas of the dental field. Usually, a dentist will refer you to an endodontist or oral surgeon if you have a more complex oral health problem. Both endodontists and oral surgeons can perform surgery inside the mouth. The only specific type of condition that both specialists treat is the treatment of a damaged tooth.

Both approach this problem in different ways, with unique objectives. Endodontists and oral surgeons specialize in dentistry, but their education, scope, and practice differ. Both endodontists and oral surgeons are trained in their specific discipline. Endodontists learn essential treatment and procedures during the two-year specialized training period.

At the same time, oral surgeons participate and learn through in-hospital training for four years. Oral surgeons gain clinical experience in oral surgery, anesthesia, and oral pathology. Endodontists, by limiting their practice specifically to endodontics, focus exclusively on dental pulp-related treatments. Although these treatments can be performed safely and effectively by general dentists, endodontist services are required if the dental problem is more complicated.

Endodontists require at least two to three years of additional training to learn more about the inside of teeth, dental pulp, and how to perform endodontic surgery and root canal treatments. You can see an endodontist for treatment if you have extreme tooth sensitivity that doesn't go away, a broken tooth, toothache, or swollen gums. Like endodontists, oral surgeons must complete additional education after finishing dental school that focuses on treating diseases and injuries of the mouth. However, patients who are in a difficult situation are often referred to endodontists if they need complicated treatments.

Although endodontists do everything they can to save your teeth, they may not be able to save a tooth if the infection or damage has spread too far. Similarly, if you have an excruciating toothache in a specific tooth with persistent sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures due to tooth decay or serious injury, you will likely need the help of an endodontist and not an oral surgeon. After completing dental school, students who aspire to be endodontists will continue their studies with two or three years in a specialized program in advanced endodontics. As for their academic background, endodontists are also general dentistry graduates with additional training and education.

Endodontists use microsurgical techniques and local anesthesia to operate on the small spaces inside the teeth. Therefore, the types of surgeries performed by oral surgeons generally focus on larger areas than those in which endodontists work.

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