The GDC currently recognises 13 various fields of dentistry with regards to their specialist register. You are not required to join a specialist list to practise a specialty, however, only dentists on these specialist lists have the right to use the ‘specialist’ title. In this series of articles you can find out more about each specialty from experts in their respective fields, with advice on the career pathway as well as sharing their experiences as a specialist.

Endodontics involves the cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue.

In the following article, Bob Philpott, Consultant in Endodontics, discusses how you can establish a career in Endodontics.


Mr Bob Philpott | BDS, MFDS, MClinDent, MRD (RCSEd)

Senior Clinical Lecturer/Honorary Consultant in Endodontics
Edinburgh Dental Institute
t: 0131 5363970


Iqualified from University College Cork in 2003 and spent 18 months in general practice in South London. Following this, I completed my SHO year in Cardiff. I enrolled on a three-year specialist training pathway in endodontology at the Eastman Dental Hospital in London in 2009. Since then, I have worked as a specialist endodontist in the UK, Ireland and Australia.


I was appointed as a Senior Clinical Lecturer/Honorary Consultant at the Edinburgh Dental Institute (EDI) in 2014 after spending 6 months in a locum post in Glasgow Dental Hospital. I currently divide my time between the EDI and Edinburgh Dental Specialists.

What is Endodontics?

GGood question! According to Wikipedia, Endodontics (from the Greek roots endo- “inside” and odont- “tooth”) is the dental specialty concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. Many people consider endodontics to be ‘root canal treatment’ but it encompasses much more than that, including pain diagnosis, vital therapies of the pulp right up to restorative rehabilitation of the endodontically treated tooth. Many of the postgraduate schools in the US now have their endo postgraduate students placing implants too!

A typical week…

I am in an academic/NHS post 4 days a week and work in specialist practice in Edinburgh the 5th day. I think the mix works really well and love both jobs.


Entry Requirements

Applicants need an undergraduate dental qualification (i.e. BDS, or equivalent from a recognised institution) and have a minimum of two years experience post-qualification. Having some experience in general practice is essential I feel to give you an understanding of dentistry in general. MFDS helps and a hospital post also looks good on the CV. I spent a year as an SHO in Cardiff prior to starting in London.

It is strongly recommended to check the essential and desirable criteria listed in the person specification provided for specific specialty training posts (StR). An exemplar person specification can be found in the ‘Further Information’ section at the bottom of the page.

To stand out from the other applicants, it would be good to:

  • Have a track record in audit
  • Have completed MFDS or equivalent
  • Have completed a publication or book review
  • Be a member of the British Endodontic Society and attended one or more of their conferences

Training Pathway:

The standard pathway for specialist training in endodontology involves the following:

  • 3 year full time (or part time equivalent) training programme comprising 4500 hrs of clinical, research & academic activity
  • Receipt of an NTN in some cases
  • Internal exams within your chosen institution
  • Completion of the MEndo/MRD in one of the Royal Colleges
  • Subsequent entry onto the specialist list

There are other pathways to allow this including incorporating the MEndo into restorative training or completion of the hours required (4500) in a less structured programme. This is possible but leads to more difficulty when demonstrating equivalence to both the Royal Colleges & the GDC.

Career options after specialising…

After completion, the choice of what you want to do is yours. I spent 4 years in private practice in Ireland, the UK and Australia prior to taking up a consultant post in Glasgow and then Edinburgh.


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