oral health professionalLike general dentists, both endodontists and oral surgeons prioritize caring for the gums, teeth, and mouth. Unlike traditional dentists, both endodontists and oral surgeons have undergone specialized training in different areas of the dental field. A dentist will typically refer you to an endodontist or oral surgeon if you have a more complex oral health issue.

So, what’s the difference between an endodontist and oral surgeon? Continue reading to learn about the education, training, and treatment methods of these oral health professionals.


Often referred to as “teeth-saving specialists”, endodontists focus on saving painful or diseased teeth. They are best known for providing root canal treatments.

After completing dental school, students who aspire to be endodontists will continue their educations with two to three years in an advanced endodontics specialty program. This program focuses on diagnosing tooth pain, root canal treatment, and other procedures that deal with dental pulp.

People often visit or are referred to an endodontist for these reasons:

  • Tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Swollen gums

Patients who experience these issues can go to an endodontist to receive any of the following treatments:

  • Root canal treatment
  • Endodontic retreatment
  • Endodontic surgery
  • Traumatic dental injury treatment
  • Dental implants

Many times, a general dentist can safely and effectively treat these issues. However, if you’re circumstance is more complicated, he or she will likely refer you to an endodontist for proper care.

Oral Surgeon

Dentists and oral surgeons will often work together to provide patients with comprehensive, exceptional care for complex issues of the mouth and face.

A dentist may refer his or her patient to an oral surgeon if their oral health issue requires any of these procedures:

  • Tooth extraction
  • Dental implant placement
  • Bone graft
  • Sinus lift
  • TMJ Surgery
  • Repairing a lost or damaged tooth


Like endodontists, oral surgeons are required to complete additional education after finishing dental school that focuses on treating diseases and injuries of the mouth. Aspiring oral surgeons must be accepted by the Commission on Dental Accreditation to complete four years of a hospital-based training program. During this time, they are trained in oral pathology, anesthesia, and oral surgery.

Once this is completed, they are required to pass computer-based and oral exams to become board certified. In total, oral surgeons complete between 12 and 14 years of college and graduate-level education.

In order to keep their license, an oral surgeon must take continuing education courses.

Conditions Treated

Oral surgeons can treat a variety of issues, such as:

  • Impacted teeth
  • Jaw-joint issues
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Missing teeth
  • Sleep problems
  • Breathing problems
  • Oral cancer

If you are experiencing any of these issues, talk to your dentist first. For more complex circumstances, he or she will refer you to the best oral surgeon near you. Both doctors will work together to provide you with the care you need.

Why to Choose A Specialist

General dentists have a basic training of the issues that endodontists and oral surgeons treat, but they typically don’t have the extensive knowledge that these specialists have acquired through training and practice. When undergoing treatment for a more serious dental issue, it’s always best to choose someone with a vast amount of training and practice in that area.

So, if you are in need of any of the procedures listed above, contact a specialist for an initial consultation. He or she will be happy to explain your treatment options.

To visit with our Colleyville oral surgeon, contact our team today at 817-552-3223.