Taking care of your oral health is essential to your quality of life and overall well-being. That’s why it’s important to work with dental healthcare providers you can trust. Dentists and endodontists work together to help people restore and maintain their oral health. But what exactly do these titles mean, and how do you know where to start?

If you need quality dental care and you’re not sure if you should visit a dentist or an endodontist, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about how to choose.

What is the difference between a dentist and an endodontist?

Dentists and endodontists are similar in that they’ve both completed dental school and provide oral healthcare to patients. But there are some distinct differences that can help you decide who you should visit depending on your specific needs and situation.

Dentists specialize in providing comprehensive care and expertise regarding oral health. They’re qualified to help patients achieve and maintain dental health through performing diagnoses, cleanings, exams, and various types of treatments.

Endodontists are also dentists. They’ve undergone the same training and are licensed to provide dental healthcare and expertise to their patients. However, they have additional training that equips them to diagnose and address dental health issues regarding the pulp of the tooth, particularly root canal treatments. Dentists often refer their patients to endodontists when they require specialized treatment.

What is tooth pulp?

The pulp is a term used to refer to both the nerve and blood supply that reside within the tooth underneath the enamel and dentin (outer layers).

When the pulp is infected or inflamed, it can cause severe pain and discomfort. The sensitivity of this particular area is the primary reason that working in the field of endodontics requires additional training and education.


The type of treatment you’ll need for your specific dental concern will depend on your individual situation. While dentists are able to perform root canal procedures, they have not undergone the rigorous training an endodontist has in evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of the pulp via root canal procedures. Instead, they often act as primary oral-health physicians, providing ongoing treatment regarding the mouth and jaw, as well as cosmetic concerns.

Both dentists and endodontists offer services to help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile. However, endodontists are particularly skilled in performing treatments that address the nerve of the tooth, including:

  • Root canal treatments and retreatments
  • Resorption repairs
  • Endodontic surgeries


Because endodontics involves working with such a complex and internal part of the tooth structure, endodontists utilize state-of-the-art technology which allows them to perform procedures efficiently and comfortably. At Endodontic Excellence of Atlanta, we offer treatments using the most advanced technology in the field, including endodontic surgical microscopes, CBCT 3D imaging, and GentleWave technology.

Not only does this high-tech equipment make treatment quicker and more effective, but it also significantly reduces post-operative pain or discomfort and increases the prognosis of your tooth long-term. These technologies in conjunction with advanced anesthetic options make even traditionally unpleasant procedures such as root canals easy.

When should I go to a dentist?

Dentists are wonderful for generalized care, especially if you aren’t sure what type of intervention you need. It’s recommended for everyone to get oral exams and cleanings at least twice a year, which is why having a primary dental care provider is a great idea, even if you’re not experiencing any active problems.

Additionally, dentists are able to provide help for several areas of the mouth and jaw and can offer expertise in a variety of common issues, including cavities, gum disease, cracks and chips, TMJ pain, cosmetic work, and more. Many dentists can help identify the source of your problem and if it is endodontic in nature, refer you to an endodontist.

When should I go to an endodontist?

Because endodontists are specially trained to work with the inner structure and nerve endings of the tooth, it’s a good idea to visit an endodontist if you’re experiencing tooth pain. Even some of the most common dental concerns can involve the pulp, including:

If you’re experiencing significant pain, sensitivity, or discomfort, an endodontist will be able to provide you specialized treatment and guidance.

When it comes to root canals in particular, an endodontist is always your best option. While dentists can and do provide root canals in some cases, endodontists perform these procedures all day, everyday. Extensive experience and specialized technology, especially when it comes to such a delicate area, can make all the difference.

Do I need a referral to see an endodontist in Atlanta?

Not at our office! While dentists often refer their patients to endodontists, and some are referral only, you can visit an expert endodontist without a referral. Endodontic Excellence of Atlanta takes patients directly without any referral needed. However, we have great relationships with dentists throughout the area and patients are often referred to us by dentists!

Are you suffering from tooth pain? We can help

When you visit Endodontic Excellence of Atlanta, you’re in good hands. Dr. Megan King is an industry-recognized endodontist committed to provide compassionate, high-tech, expert treatment to each and every one of her patients. You can rest assured that you’re getting the highest quality care in Atlanta.

Contact us online to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help!