What is an endodontist?
This is a dentist who specializes mainly in problems with the inside of your tooth but can take care of problems on the outside of the tooth also. The inside is called the pulp, which is made of the blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissues. The pulp also supplies nutrients to the tooth. One of the most common procedures that an endodontist does is a root canal which involves them removing the pulp that is infected from the tooth and then sealing it up. A general practice dentist can perform this procedure but there are times that it does require the expertise of a specialist, which is the endodontist.
Job description of an endodontist
As mentioned an endodontist is a specialist and is called upon to do root canals if their regular dentist cannot do it and requires the specialist’s expertise. Other procedures that an endodontist might perform are:
- Treat broken and cracked teeth
- Diagnose and treat problems with the roots of the teeth
- Replace and replant teeth that have been extracted or knocked out
- If there is inflammations or opportunistic infections of the exposed pulp of the tooth the patient may need immediate treatment before the endodontist can begin reconstructive work.
- They may also have to retreat teeth that have had root canals before.
- Sometimes they may see a patient that has an infection or one that has reoccurred so the endodontist may have to do an apicoectomy, which is removing the infected root tip surgically.
- They will also have to ensure and maintain proper care of all their dental equipment
In addition, if the endodontist has hospital privileges they could be called in if there is an emergency and a patient with facial and dental trauma needs to be examined and treated. To be an endodontist you need not only the skills to operate on patients but should also have the skills to make them fill at ease in your office and during the surgical procedure being done. They also need to have good communication skills and have good hand-eye coordination because they have to deal with the fine nerves and tissues that are connected to the tooth.
How to become an endodontist?
One thing to note is that when becoming an endodontist this is a considered a specialty and it will require you to complete 2 more years of school before you can become a practicing endodontist. When in high school you need to make sure that you are including science classes in subjects such as biology and chemistry along with physics and math classes. After graduation you must go to college and get your bachelor’s degree, preferably as a science or dentistry major, before you can apply to dental school. During the years you are getting your bachelor’s degree you should make sure that you are taking classes in physiology, physics, biochemistry, and anatomy. After getting your bachelor’s degree you will need to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), have a high GPA during the time you were getting your bachelor’s degree and in high school. You may also have to have an interview with the dental college you are applying to and letters of recommendation.
During the first 2 years of dentistry school will be taken up by laboratory and classroom time and the last 2 years you will get clinical experience and diagnosis and treat patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. If you plan to open your own practice you might consider taking some business classes while you are finishing up dental school. Graduating from dental school you will either have a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). In order to get your degree you will have to pass the National Board of Dentist Examinations and pass a practical examination.
When it is time to choose an advance degree you should make sure that you understand what the requirements that must be met before graduating with this specialty license. You should check with the American Academy of Endodontist to see what guidelines are needed for graduating. During these 2 years you will take classes in clinical practice, targeted research, and principles and treatment of endodontic. Once you have these classes completed you will usually be required to submit a thesis before you can graduate with your advance degree. Once you have completed the school and requirements to become an endodontist it is time to become board certified which is vital if you want to practice as an endodontist.
To become board certified you must have completed a postdoctoral study in a program that has been approved by the American Dental Association. You will have to take an oral and written examination along with an examination of your case history that is administered by the American Association of Endodontists. To keep your license as a board certified endodontist you must complete continuing education courses so you can stay up-to-date on new technologies that are being used.
Work environment and schedule
Most endodontist work in either a group practice or have a private practice. They may also work in hospitals or in clinics with general practice dentists and other specialists. Almost all the patients that an endodontist sees are referrals from a general practice dentist. Because an endodontist is more expensive than a general practice dentist the patient will usually see their dentist first and have their dentist refer them to an endodontist if necessary. Endodontist hours can vary according to their work environment. If they have privileges at a hospital they may either be on call several nights a week and weekends or they just be called into the hospital if there is an emergency which could be during the night, weekend, or even during their normal work day. Since most endodontist work with referred patients how many hours a week they would work would depend on their case load. Some days they may be extremely busy and work 10 hours while other days they may only work 5 hours. What hours they would work and how many patients they would see during the day would also depend on the type of procedures they will have to do that day. Some procedures take a little longer than others. Most do work just Monday thru Friday and keep a normal business schedule.
When being sent to see an endodontist by your family dentist it is normally because you need a procedure that your family dentist feels would be best handled by a specialist. When the endodontist accepts a referral the general practice dentist will send over the patient’s medical history, any x-rays taken, and what problems they are having. When the patient comes for their appointment the dental hygienist may do x-rays even if their family dentist has sent over the x-rays that they have done. When seeing the patient for the first time the endodontist will ask the patient what symptoms they are having, what their pain level is at that time, and if they are allergic to anything, and if they have had problems in the past with anesthesia either local or to be put asleep during the procedure. They will then do an exam of the patient’s mouth and recommend a treatment plan. The main treatment that an endodontist focuses on is retaining the natural teeth if possible.
During the exam the endodontist will also identify any tooth decay and to what extent it is. Depending on what problems the patient is having some of the procedures that an endodontist might perform can include:
- Endodontic therapy—this is commonly known as a root canal and during this treatment the endodontist will remove the pulp that is infected along with the nerves from the tooth’s root canal. The endodontist will use small files to clean the pulp from the chamber in the tooth and then shape the canals so they can be sealed from the infection. In order to restore and protect that tooth from being damage further a dental crown will be put there. Once that is done the patient can return to their family dentist for a follow-up.
- Endodontic retreatment—although after doing a root canal there is a 95% success rate there are some that fail and become re-infected. If this happens the endodontist will remove the dental crown and sealant material in order to regain access to the root canals which at this time the endodontist will clean the canals thoroughly and remove any infection that has been left behind. Once the tooth has been cleaned and all infection has been remove the endodontist will put another dental crown on it.
If their family dentist cannot find their source of pain they may be referred to an endodontist for them to do exploratory surgery to find out the cause of the pain and treat it. During exploratory surgery the endodontist may find problems in the bone or be able to detect root fractures. If the patient has an inflammation or infection the endodontist could also prescribe antibiotics or pain medication.
Pros and cons of being an Endodontist
The endodontist job like any in the field of Dentistry plays a vital and crucial role. This happens especially because they are the specialists known to treat decays, to identify them and their extent and establish a treatment plan, and at the same time to treat the cracked and fractured teeth.
The world of healthcare system is in need for these specialists since the number of cases in this area of specialization is very increased. Many patients have this kind of issues mentioned before due to many factors, and the good news is that the number of demanding is very high.
The salary of an endodontist is very good reaching at $260,573 per year. Those who work in an individual practice or are involved in a partnership earn even a higher salary that reaches easily at $227,010 per year.
The rewarding in this job is being able to take away the teeth pain of a patient, restore their teeth and make sure that they can life without pain or excessive sensibility a healthy and comfortable life. Of course, some of the treatments will not always go as you planned. Some of the teeth might crack again, or some of the fillings of the teeth might not last. Still, working with people that sometimes have an acute fear of going to a dentist is not perpetually an easy thing to do.
You’ll get plenty of patients that will assume to know better than you do, or those that are not satisfied with the results. You shouldn’t forget that this job is never a boring one and can surely help you extend your knowledge and do good and many times by fulfilled with the result of a great treatment plan.
With all these news, the con that is less pleasant is that you’ll need plenty of education in order to become an endodontist. Sometimes this can be very costly and in the end you’ll have to pay all of your financial debts.
The road is hard and in many cases competitive. You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree, and have as well as a DDS or DMD degree. The latter can be obtained at one of the accredited dental college programs, this meaning four years of undergraduate dental program. Followed by an advanced two year training in endodontics and yet in the end be able to take your board certificate.
Endodontist job growth
The employment growth rate for endodontists has a projection growth that is estimated for the next ten years or so at 15%. The main trigger is an established increase in the country’s population and the need for more and more dental professionals. This career field is very stable, and the job is very satisfactory, due to the nature of the job itself.
The working environment of these professionals is in dental clinics, or dental practices, hospitals or other similar settings. The job prospects are very good with all the competition going around for these professionals and since there are plenty of people who are in need for dental services, with a high increase in demand the future of endodontists is assured. The great news is that as more and more endodontists are starting to own their practice, the job availability is increasing creating new positions.
As with any job the geographical location, the work environment, and work experience are all taken into account when talking about what an average yearly endodontist salary would be. Starting out the salary may have you thinking that all that extra schooling and training to become a specialist in dentistry was not worth it because the average yearly endodontist salary is $67.407 but can be more or less. As you gain more work experience the average yearly salary can be as much as $330,000 or more. There is also the benefit package that an endodontist would get when working for a group practice, hospital, or clinic which generally includes paid vacation, sick, and personal days, health and life insurance that could also include their family, social security, 401K, pension, vision and dental care, and malpractice insurance.
For the highest paid endodontist their average yearly salary can range from $350,000-$500,000 and the lowest paid endodontist their average yearly salary can range from $30,000-$387,675.
The average yearly endodontist salary in the top 5 states is:
- $270,000 in Mississippi
- $260,000 in New York and Massachusetts
- $241,000 in California
- $240,000 in Wyoming
The average yearly endodontist salary in the lowest 8 states is:
- $170,000 in Hawaii and Louisiana
- $180,000 in Alaska and Wisconsin
- $190,000 in Arizona, Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota
The average yearly salary of an endodontist in various places of employment is:
- $140,000-$265,000 working in the United States military
- $140,000-$246,000 working in outpatient settings or a hospital
- $230,000 working in a private practice.
Each year the demand for the need of an endodontist services increases and because of the great working conditions this is considered a highly rewarding and paying profession. The employment opportunities for an endodontist are expected to increase by 15% between the years 2008 and 2018.
Salary of an Endodontist in 2015
In the US, the endodontist salary ranges from $65,010 and up to $400,010 per year and is usually influenced by many factors. Among the first aspects that affect the salary in 2015, we can talk about the work experience, the training and education. A certain level of preparation is needed to be eligible to work and the facility in which one of these specialist is working and the area or the state in which the professional found a job.
The best way to check out a job in this field is to take a look also at the job outlook and see if the number of demanding and job opportunities are increasing or decreasing. This job outlook is in a constant growth due to the importance and the tasks that an endodontists has to perform.
Endodontist Salary in 2016
The average payment of endodontists in the US, for the year 2016 has an average estimation that generally reaches at around $201,010 per year according to the salary data survey offered by PayScale. The main factors that influence and affect this group are the geographical location, being the biggest factor followed by the type of employment and years of experience in the field.
The salaries for endodontists are estimated to start from $96,187 per year and reach even at $388,325 per year. The bonuses that are granted for some of these professionals can climb up to $57,510 per year while the profit sharing can go as high as $59,010 per year. This leading in the end to a total payment that is comprised between $63,930 and $401,564.
The great news in this field is the fact that even those with an entry-level career with fewer than five years of working practice can earn quite a lot, their earnings usually reaching at $198,010. A mid-career employee with 5 to 10 years in the field can expect to take home around $197,010 while one individual that has been in this job for up to 20 years can expect to earn a salary of $203,010 per year. A veteran endodontist with more than 20 years of experience will receive an income estimated at $291,010 per year.
The type of employment is another factor that influences the earnings of endodontists. For instance, those professionals who found work in the United State Military can expect to take home between $140,005 and $265,005. In other facilities such as hospitals or outpatient settings the incomes that are gained by these professionals tend to have an average that is comprised between $140,010 per year and up to $246,010 per year.
These incomes are affected when it comes to the area or residence by two major factors the first one being the costs of living in each area while the second one that is as important as the earlier one is the living expenses that are to be found in that particular state or city. Without any doubt the salaries of endodontists vary from state to state and town to town, not to mention that in the rural areas the income is much lower than compared with the urban areas that are more developed.
Endodontist salary in Canada, Australia and UK
The average yearly endodontist salary in Canada, UK, and Australia is:
- Canada—CAD$121,000 (is equal to $11,148 in the United States)
- UK—300,000 pounds (is equal to $505,396 in the United States)
- Australia—AU$52,300-AU$90,200 (is equal to $48,363-$83,502 in the United States)
Conclusion on endodontist salary
As stated the profession of an endodontist is a growing field and while the salary is not the highest as compared to others in different health professions it is still a job that can have a high salary but it may take several years of experience to make that high of a salary. When looking at the beginning salary and the amount of training and schooling you have to have to become an endodontist you might feel that you would have been better off just working in a factory or some other business. Adding in the benefit package, which can be quite lucrative, the working environment, and knowing that you are helping someone to keep their teeth can make the lower end of the salary worth it. When deciding where to practice choose a geographical location like a large city instead of a rural area and consider working with an established group practice to begin with instead of opening your own private practice. After getting more experience you can venture out on your own and have your own private practice with a salary of over $150,000 on average a year.
- First Published Date: 27 August, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 23 August, 2016