Do Endodontists Pull Wisdom Teeth?

Hand written by Dr David Chen, an actively practicing dentist and avid writer. #doctorswrite

Typically, endodontists would not pull out your wisdom tooth. It’s not that they can’t do it but rather, it isn’t their area of expertise. They specialize on procedures that treat conditions which involve the inner components of a tooth such as the nerve.

impacted wisdom teeth cartoon joke

I’m not sure if you want an endodontist to extract your wisdom tooth because I personally wouldn’t want it and I’m a dentist.

Reasons I wouldn’t see an endodontist for wisdom teeth removal:

  • It isn’t their area of expertise.
  • The last time they did an extraction was back in dental school.
  • There is a different specialist that I’d rather see.

Let me explain what I mean by all of that.

It’s NOT their specialty

There are many dental specialists and each of them specialize in different procedures. Unfortunately, an endodontist specializes in endodontic procedures such as root canals and NOT wisdom teeth removal. The specialist who does focus on wisdom teeth extractions would be an oral surgeon who specializes in oral surgery.

What endodontists do:

  • Root canal treatment
  • Endodontic retreatment
  • Endodontic surgery
  • Traumatic dental injuries
  • Adjunctive dental implant procedures such as removing broken screws
  • Post removal from post and cores

What oral surgeons do:

  • Anesthesia
  • Wisdom teeth extraction
  • Dentoalveolar surgery
  • Dental implants
  • Orthognathic surgery
  • Cleft and craniofacial surgery
  • Maxillofacial trauma
  • Temporomandibular joint
  • Reconstructive cosmetic surgery
  • Pathologic conditions

Endodontist vs Oral Surgeon

An endodontist specializes in procedures which save the teeth. They typically treat unhealthy nerve conditions so that you can keep your tooth albeit it’ll be dead afterwards but it is still your tooth. They are most well known for their bread and butter procedure called a root canal.

An oral surgeon specializes in procedures for teeth that can no longer be saved. Basically what they do are major surgeries which are the last resort option. They are most well known for their bread and butter procedure called wisdom teeth extraction.

In summary, wisdom teeth removal is not an endodontist’s area of expertise.

Can they extract wisdom teeth?

Technically, all dentists are licensed to remove wisdom teeth and that includes endodontists. However, they probably haven’t done an extraction, never mind a third molar extraction in many years.

They were trained to do it

Before one can become an endodontist, they must go to dental school like every other dentist and dental specialist. During dental school, every dental student must be proficient in every dental specialty.

Students do rotations through each of the specialty clinics so that they can figure out what they like doing most. That is to help them decide what type of dentist they wish to be once they graduate.

You can be sure that they did pay their dues at the oral surgery clinic and removed a fair amount of wisdom teeth. However, they most likely decided that taking out third molars weren’t their cup of tea which is why they went into endodontics instead.

They probably haven’t done one in years

After a dental student graduates dental school and goes into their endodontic residency program, they will ONLY do endodontic procedures. Basically they do root canals day in and day out, 365 days a year.

What that means is that they become highly proficient in root canals since they do it every day. The downside is that they start to becoming unfamiliar with wisdom teeth removal because they stopped doing them.

That situation gets amplified the older the endodontist is.

  • If your endodontist looks fairly young, they may still remember how to do a wisdom tooth removal.
  • If your endodontist looks seasoned or nearing retirement age, it has probably been decades since they even pulled out a tooth.

Personal anecdote

Let me tell you a story of when I had a really difficult extraction and it happened during my first job in private practice. That day it was just me, a general dentist and my colleague, an orthodontist who was there.

This is what happened.

I was trying to take out a molar but the tooth wouldn’t budge. I tried elevating it and trying to remove it with forceps but it wouldn’t come out. So, I started frantically going through the office trying to look for a different instrument to use so that I can remove that tooth.

The orthodontist sees me scrummaging through the drawers and asks me what I was doing. I tell him that I’m looking for something to help me with this extraction.

But, do you know what he says to me? “I haven’t taken out a tooth in 35 years!”

I pause for a brief moment and think to myself, WOW. You’re of absolutely no help at all.

I was sweating bullets at the time but I did manage to extract the tooth eventually. Thinking back on it now, it was pretty funny… We did become good friends afterwards though.

Nonetheless, the point that I’m trying to make is that specialists become very proficient in their own specialty procedures and become less proficient in others. This is especially true the further removed they are from dental school.

Who I would see instead

If I was in an enodontist’s chair and they were about to remove my wisdom tooth. I would get up and sprint out of the office as fast as I can.

Honestly, no disrespect to them but I would prefer to have the best person for the job to do the procedure. In the case for removing wisdom teeth, the best dental specialist to see would be an oral surgeon and that is who I would see.

In fact, it was an oral surgeon, Dr Juan Carlos DeFex who removed all of my wisdom teeth. I actually had it done in three separate appointments. So, no I did not have an endodontist do it and you probably shouldn’t either. Not that you can’t but… there are better choices.

Therefore if you need your third molar removes, I would recommend you to see an oral surgeon or at least a general dentist who is proficient in it.

So, what would you do and who would you have pull your wisdom tooth?


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The purpose of the content at afterva is to encourage you to seek in person care with a doctor. It's not nor was it ever meant to be a substitute for medical advice. Every situation is unique and impossible to diagnose without a clinical exam.

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