How to Become an Endodontist in the US

Endodontics is a specialty in dentistry that focuses on the treatment of dental pulp. Endodontists are the professionals behind this activity. They treat conditions such as cracked teeth and dental trauma, and perform procedures such as root canal therapy. If you love caring for people, perhaps this is a career that could suit you.

What do endodontists do?

The primary duties of endodontists include:

  • Examining patients’ teeth and gums to determine the condition of teeth pulp
  • Using x-rays and other dental diagnostic equipment to diagnose tooth pulp infections
  • Determining the best method to treat pulp and root canals infections – They can perform surgeries to remove the pulp or fill up the pulp chamber
  • Restoring the normal teeth color through bleaching
  • Replacing broken teeth and attending to patients with dental injuries.

Work environment

Like dentists, endodontists work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Some work in the evenings and during the weekends depending on clients’ schedules.

They spend their time in dental offices where they examine and treat patients. To protect themselves from contracting infectious diseases, they wear gloves, safety glasses and masks.


According to Payscale, the median annual salary for endodontists is $195,271. The following table highlights the salary ranges for the lowest and highest paid endodontists:


Annual wage

Lowest paid endodontists

$80,000 - $130,000

Middle earners

$130,000 - $250,000

Highest earning endodontists

$250,000 - $410,000

Entry requirements

To become an endodontist, you must complete the following steps:

  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree in a science such as biology, physics or chemistry – Your undergraduate option is, however, not limited to these disciplines. No specific major is required to join dental schools
  • Take and pass the Dental Admission Test
  • Join a dental school and earn a dentistry degree – At this point, you can obtain a license from your state’s dentist board and practice as a dentist
  • Pursue postgraduate training in endodontics (takes two years to complete).

As you can see, it takes at least eight years to become an endodontist. It, therefore, isn’t surprising to note that they’re highly remunerated.

Important qualities

You need the following skills and abilities to be an accomplished endodontic practitioner:

  • Good eyesight and normal color vision
  • The ability to concentrate for long periods of time
  • An interest in science and medicine
  • Good practical and technical skills to use dental instruments
  • Good eye-hand coordination
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Good business and personnel management skills – For those in private practice
  • Good computer skills
  • The ability to engage in continuing education activities.

Career development

After gaining all the required qualifications and securing a license, you may begin as an assistant endodontist. You will work under veteran practitioners to gain hands-on experience. This is particularly essential if you choose not to practice as a dentist before becoming an endodontist.

To heighten your career advancement prospects:

  • Obtain a certification from the American Board of Endodontics
  • Join the American Association of Endodontists – You will be able to access research publications, industry news and clinical resources

Job opportunities

Endodontists can find employment opportunities in:

  • Offices of dentists
  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Offices of physicians
  • Endodontic clinics

In time, you can establish your own endodontic clinic. You can also pursue a PhD in endodontics to qualify for teaching jobs in dental schools.

Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of all dentists, including endodontists, will grow by 16 percent through 2022. This means aspiring endodontists have strong employment prospects.

If your passion for caring people can take you through several years of college, there is no reason you can’t excel as an endodontist. Good luck!


Image: Midtown Dentistry