When it comes to dental health, there are many different types of specialists that you may need to see. Depending on your specific needs, certain dentists may be better suited to provide the treatments or procedures necessary for your teeth. Endodontists, periodontists, and prosthodontists are just a few examples of highly-trained professionals who specialize in different areas of dentistry. Let’s take a closer look at how these three differ.

Who is an Endodontist

An endodontist is a dentist specializing in treating diseases of the tooth’s root canal system. This includes diagnosing and treating dental pain caused by infection or inflammation in the root canal system and performing root canal treatments. Endodontists are also trained in advanced techniques such as microsurgery, endodontic surgery, and endodontic retreatment. According to the American Association of Endodontists, less than 3% of dentists in the US are endodontists.

Who is a Periodontist

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases of the gums and jawbone (periodontics). They are trained in gum grafting procedures, bone grafting procedures, dental implant placement, crown lengthening surgery, scaling, and root planing (deep cleaning), laser gum therapy for gum recession treatment, osseous surgery for bone loss due to periodontal disease, and other advanced techniques used to treat periodontal disease.

Who is a Prosthodontist

A prosthodontist is a dentist who specializes in replacing missing teeth due to injury or decay with artificial replacements such as crowns or bridges. They are trained in cosmetic dentistry, tooth whitening, and more complex procedures such as full-mouth reconstruction with veneers or implant-supported restorations. They also specialize in removable dentures, such as partial or complete dentures, for patients with multiple missing teeth.

Differences Between Endodontists, Periodontists, and Prosthodontists

To help clarify the differences between these three types of dental practitioners, let’s look at the significant differences between them.

Education and Training

Endodontists must complete an additional two years of post-doctoral training after dental school to specialize in root canal treatments and other advanced procedures involving the soft inner tissues of teeth. Periodontists must complete three additional years of training after dental school to specialize in treating gum disease, performing gum surgery, and placing dental implants. Prosthodontists must also complete three additional years of training after completing dental school to specialize in replacing missing teeth with dentures, bridges, or implants.


They provide specialized care for the inside tissues of teeth, including root canal therapy and endodontic surgery, while Periodontists specialize in preventive care and diagnosing and treating gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Prosthodontists treat patients who have lost all or part of their teeth due to injury or decay by providing replacements such as dentures, bridges, or implants.


Endodontic treatment involves removing infected pulp from a tooth’s center, then cleaning and sealing it shut to save it from extraction. Periodontal treatment focuses on preventing gum disease through regular cleanings and scaling procedures followed by more intensive treatments, if necessary, such as antibiotics or laser therapy for deep pockets caused by infection around the roots. Prosthetic treatment replaces missing or damaged teeth with artificial ones such as bridges, crowns, or dentures crafted from porcelain or other materials that match natural tooth coloration closely.


Endodontic patients are typically adults seeking relief from severe toothaches due to an infected root canal. In contrast, periodontal patients often suffer from gingivitis which can lead to more severe forms of periodontal diseases if left untreated. Prosthodontic patients typically have suffered trauma resulting in lost teeth due to injury or decay.

Tools and Technology

Endodontics employs tools like microscopes and digital x-rays for diagnosis. At the same time, periodontics utilizes lasers to remove diseased tissues and to suture techniques for grafting new tissue onto exposed areas where needed during surgery. Prosthondtics makes use of 3D imaging systems for creating accurate models used when creating customized replacement teeth, so they fit precisely with existing dentition.

Treatment Plans

Endodontics focuses on saving severely damaged teeth through root canals, while Periontitcs concerns itself primarily with prevention but may include surgical intervention if needed. Prosthondtics replaces missing teeth through various means, such as bridgework, implants, or dentures explicitly crafted for each patient.

How To Decide Whether You Should See a Periodontist, Endodontist, and Prosthodontist

The decision to see a periodontist, endodontist, or prosthodontist depends on your dental issue. Most dental problems will have different symptoms, and your symptoms could easily help you decide which specialist you should see. Here are some general guidelines to help you decide which specialist to see:


If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, it may be time to see an endodontist.

  • Unexplained or persistent toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures lasting longer than normal
  • Swelling, tenderness, or bumps in the area around the affected tooth
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Severe pain when chewing food
  • A bad taste in your mouth from the affected tooth
  • Pain radiating to other parts of your face or neck when biting down on something hard


You should see a Periodontist if you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Gums that are swollen, red, tender, or bleeding easily.
  • Persistent bad breath (halitosis).
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Changes in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together when you bite down (known as malocclusion)
  • Any changes in the way your dentures fit
  • Development of deep pockets (more than 4mm) between the tooth and gum line
  • Changes in the positioning or alignment of your teeth
  • Changes in the color of your gums, such as redness or a bluish tint
  • Pain when eating, brushing, or flossing


If you have been noticing any of the following signs and symptoms, it might be time to visit a Prosthodontist:

  • Tooth decay or excessive wear on your teeth
  • Teeth that are discolored, chipped, cracked, or missing
  • Difficulty in chewing and speaking
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Protruding teeth
  • Malocclusion (misaligned bite)
  • Uncomfortable dentures or bridges that don’t fit properly or slip around in your mouth
  • Inability to enjoy favorite foods because of tooth discomfort or fear of embarrassment.
  • Unusual wear and tear on existing dental work
  • Loss of self-confidence due to the appearance of your smile

Consult your general dentist to determine which specialist suits your specific dental issue. They may be able to refer you to a specialist or work with one to provide you with the best possible care.


In conclusion, the key differences between an Endodontist, Periodontist, and Prosthodontist are distinct yet invariably intertwined. These professions may appear similar, but they indeed have very different domains and should be viewed as such. If you are still trying to decide which dentistry professional you should consult, contact the top rated dentist offices in Chino and Encino.