does a regular dentist do root canals

Yes, a regular dentist is capable of performing root canals. Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, involves removing the infected or inflamed pulp from inside a tooth, cleaning the area, and then sealing it to prevent further infection. While some dentists choose to specialize in endodontics, many general dentists are trained and experienced in providing root canal treatment to their patients.

Understanding the Role of a General Dentist

A general dentist is a dental professional who focuses on overall oral health care. They diagnose and treat various oral health issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. General dentists also provide preventive services such as dental cleanings, fillings, and crowns. Although they may refer complex cases to specialists, general dentists undergo training that encompasses a wide range of dental procedures, including root canals.

Training and Skills of General Dentists in Performing Root Canals

While endodontists specialize in root canal treatments, general dentists receive comprehensive education and training that enables them to perform this procedure as well. Here are some key aspects of a general dentist’s training related to root canals:

  • Anatomy of Teeth: General dentists have a deep understanding of dental anatomy, including the structure and function of the teeth and surrounding tissues.
  • Dental Pulp and Nerves: They are familiar with the internal structures of teeth, including the dental pulp and nerves, which play a vital role in performing root canals.
  • Diagnostic Skills: General dentists are trained to accurately diagnose whether a patient needs a root canal. They can assess the extent of the infection or inflammation and determine the appropriate treatment approach.
  • Endodontic Techniques: Dentists receive education and training in the specific techniques involved in root canal treatment, such as the use of dental files, irrigation solutions, and dental materials for filling and sealing the tooth.
  • Patient Management: General dentists also develop skills in managing patient comfort and anxiety during the root canal procedure. They may use local anesthesia or other sedation techniques to ensure a pain-free experience for their patients.

Considering these skills and knowledge gained during their training, general dentists can effectively perform root canals and provide comprehensive dental care to their patients.

When Would a General Dentist Refer a Root Canal Case?

While general dentists are capable of performing root canals, there are instances when they may refer the case to an endodontist, who specializes in root canal treatments. Some situations that might warrant a referral include:

  1. Complex Root Anatomy: If the tooth has complex root canal anatomy, such as extra canals or severely curved roots, a general dentist may refer the patient to an endodontist who has advanced expertise in dealing with such cases.
  2. Retreatment of Previous Root Canal: When a previously treated tooth requires retreatment due to persistent infection or complications, a general dentist may refer the case to an endodontist for specialized care.
  3. Severe Dental Trauma: In cases of severe dental trauma that involve both the tooth and surrounding structures, a referral to an endodontist may be necessary to ensure optimal treatment outcomes.
  4. Systemic Health Issues: If a patient has underlying systemic health conditions that may increase the risk of complications during a root canal procedure, a general dentist might choose to refer them to an endodontist who can provide specialized care tailored to their specific needs.
  5. Personal Preference or Request: In some cases, a patient may specifically request to be referred to an endodontist for a root canal treatment. General dentists respect such requests and collaborate with specialists to ensure the highest quality of care.

It’s important to note that general dentists maintain close relationships with specialists in order to provide their patients with optimal dental care and ensure timely referrals whenever necessary.


In conclusion, a regular dentist is indeed capable of performing root canals. With their comprehensive training and skills, general dentists can diagnose and treat various dental conditions, including root canal treatment. While some cases may require the expertise of an endodontist, general dentists play a crucial role in ensuring the oral health and well-being of their patients.