7 things to look for before you hire an endodontic specialist. 

As dentistry continues to grow, dental specialists are increasingly standing out in their field. Although many dentists still treat root canals themselves, a large number are outsourcing the procedure to endodontists, missing opportunities to treat patients and losing out on extra revenue as a result. There are many benefits to hiring an in-house endodontist to offer specialized care in your dental practice. Read on to learn what to look for when hiring an endodontics specialist. 

man and woman shaking hands

What is an endodontic specialist? 

Endodontists are dentists who have completed an additional 2+ years of specialist training beyond dental school. This means that all endodontic specialists are dentists while less than 3% of dentists are endodontists, according to the American Association of Endodontists. (Another way to look at it: about 97% of practicing dentists do not have specialized endodontic training.) Endodontists specialize in root canal treatment and treating tooth/facial pain related to the tissues and nerves inside of the tooth, also known as tooth pulp. 

(H3) What procedures does an endodontist perform? 

Endodontists are best known for providing root canal treatment. In the United States, a typical endodontist will average 25 root canal procedures per week, while a general dentist averages 2 per week. Endodontist specialists are also the go-to for treating tooth and facial pain that are beyond the scope of what general dentists can (or want to) treat. The specialty residency program that endodontists complete in addition to dental school makes them experts in how to diagnose and treat diseases inside the tooth. Not to mention, with the number of specialized cases they treat per week, endodontists develop an exceptionally high level of firsthand knowledge within this area of oral healthcare. While a general dentist might fix a patient’s cavity, an endodontist will find and diagnose the source of tooth pain that a general dentist might struggle to locate and treat. 

Should a dentist or endodontist do a root canal? 

Both dentists and endodontists can provide root canal treatment. However, endodontists have specialized knowledge and training that general dentists don’t. Some general dentists feel comfortable doing their own root canals, but many prefer to outsource to a specialist, especially if the case is tricky. Because endodontists do multiple root canal procedures every single day, they tend to be much more familiar and comfortable with the procedure than a general dentist may be. Endodontists are also equipped with specialized tools for root canal treatment.

endodontics specialist looking at patient

Should I hire an in-house endodontist? 

If you are a busy dentist in a high-traffic area, and your dental office has the means to do so, it may be a great idea to hire an in-house endodontist. For general dentists who are fixing cavities, educating patients about oral health, repairing damaged teeth, taking X-rays, prescribing medications, etc., it can take a huge load off of their plate to hire an endodontist to work in their practice. Hiring an endodontist is also a huge revenue booster for a dental office.

With an in-house endodontist, your office can serve a larger patient demographic by providing both general and specialized dental care, rather than having to refer patients to specialists outside of the dental office. Knowing they can have all of their dental work done in one place attracts more patients to your practice, and can bring peace of mind for general dentists. Rather than referring your patient to an outside specialist with fingers crossed that they’ll be taken care of, you’ll be able to confidently have your in-house endodontist treat the patient with the level of care that you take pride in offering. Hiring an in-house endodontist is more convenient for your patients, and can be better for your bottom line.

 What to look for when hiring an endodontist. 

 1. Specialized training. 

As mentioned above, endodontists undergo specialized training in addition to dental school. Endodontists complete a residency program of at least 2 years on top of their dentistry schooling. Any endodontist that you are considering hiring for your dental office should have successfully completed all of their training. They should also demonstrate a genuine interest in their work and advancements in the field. This makes it more likely that they will put in the effort and time to be a knowledgeable endodontist who is up to date with the latest dental technology and procedures.

Hint: If the endodontist you’re considering has a membership with an endodontic or dental organization, this can be a helpful indicator that they are committed to ongoing education.  

2. Someone who values customer experience. 

When bringing any new hire into your dental practice, it is important to assess whether they have the same level of commitment that you do to providing a great customer experience. No matter how skilled the endodontist, if their bedside manner drives away patients, they will not be an asset to your practice. Take the time to find out: How do they react when they make mistakes? What is their customer experience philosophy? What is their level of professionalism with endodontic care? Choose someone you know your patients will love. Bonus: This will also lead to better reviews for your dental practice

3. High level of experience with endodontic procedures. 

Patients experiencing tooth and facial pain want immediate, effective relief. When hiring an in-house endodontist, consider how many years they’ve been providing endodontic treatment, how many procedures they do a week, and what their rates of endodontic treatment success are. Patients want to know that the specialist they’re seeing is experienced and capable. Make sure to choose an endodontist whose skills and expertise you can confidently recommend. 

4. Marketing experience and ability to attract patients.

 Revenue is the lifeblood of your business; attracting and retaining patients are perhaps the highest priorities for dentists in practice. An endodontist who can work with you to keep patients engaged before, during, and after their visit will be a huge asset to your dental practice and keep your business growing. And if you hire an endodontist who already has loyal patients from their previous workplace, all the better!

 5. Someone who is great to work with.

 You’re not just a dentist; you’re a business owner. One of the biggest factors to successfully growing your dental practice is feeling united with, and confident in, your employees and other professionals in your office. Take time to consider your feelings towards the endodontist you’re thinking of hiring. Do you enjoy talking with them? Do you respect their work? How much do you trust them? Hiring someone you can see yourself enjoyably working with over the long term will save you time, money, and stress. 

6. Someone who has personal ties to the area. 

Imagine this: You’ve interviewed your potential candidates, finally selected the dream endodontist, and worked with them for two years. Your practice is growing, and business is booming, until…your in-house endodontist has to move across the country. They found a better opportunity or need to be closer to family. This means you’ll have to start the hiring process for an in-house endodontist all over again. You can avoid frustration by taking the time from the start to understand your candidates’ personal ties to the area you work in. Do they have family nearby? Are they planning to stay in this area for a while, or are they likely to leave in a couple of years? Recruiting an endodontist with personal reasons to be in your area will increase the likelihood that they’ll stay with your office for a longer period of time. 

7. Someone with a valuable professional network.

 With an in-house endodontist, together you’ll be able to tackle a wide range of patients’ oral concerns. However, there still may be times where you will need to refer a patient to an outside dental specialist. By hiring an endodontist with a sizable professional network, in combination with your own, you’ll increase your odds of being able to refer your patient to a trusted provider. The larger of a network your dental office has, the easier it will be to refer patients quickly and confidently for treatment. 

Conclusion

Choosing to hire an in-house endodontist is a personal decision, and bringing a specialist into your practice can be nerve-wracking. However, the benefits can far outweigh any hesitations when you hire the right person. By looking out for top qualities in your endodontic specialist, you’ll be starting off your search on the right foot.

Bryan Oram
Bryan Oram AVP of Healthcare Enterprise Sales

Bryan Oram is a Healthcare professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects healthcare businesses with their patients.

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