The root canal system, especially in molars, is often complex and difficult to clean well. This is why many general dentists prefer to refer these cases to a Root Canal specialist who has the training, equipment and experience to deal with them well.
A specialist Endodontist will use a surgical microscope during treatment, to magnify the tooth to approximately x20, to enhance success rates.
An Endodontist is a dental surgeon who specialised in treating endodontic problems (endo-within, dontic-tooth). In general, this involves root canal treatment. In general he/she will have undertaken specialist training. The endodontic specialist training pathway involves four years of study dedicated to the speciality and several other requirements to be admitted to the Specialist Register of the General Dental Council.
There are currently several hundreds specialist endodontists in the United Kingdom. Most of them have a practice limited to Endodontics and work on referral from other general dentists.
Some Dentist undertake additional training in Endodontics to improve their skills and expertise in the field, often for several years, but not enough to grant them admission to the Specialist Endodontist Register.
They usually refer to themselves as dentists with “a special interest in Endodontics”. Finally a good number of general dentists enjoy doing their own Root Canals and prefer to deal with most endodontic procedures “in house” at their practices. It is good to remember that any dentist is legally entitled to perform Root Canal Treatments and it is ultimately his/her decision what to treat and what to refer, in the patient best interest.
It is evident that the practice of modern Endodontics requires a considerable investment of time and financial resourses in order to acquire the necessary training and the expensive equipment associated with this delicate clinical procedure.
No surprise if the huge majority of the endodontist work in private practices with the exception of those ones who attend University hospitals and very few others.