Quick Guide for Success: Endo

Endodontics is typically offered during the D2 year. In your endo course, you will learn about the etiology, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and the peri-radicular area. Like operative, your endodontics course will typically entail both a lecture and sim-lab component. In my experience, students either love or hate endo! Non-surgical root canal therapy requires a very methodical sequence, which some students gravitate towards. Personally, I loved endo! Continue reading for my top 5 tips to ace endo!

1. Master Diagnosis

Before plunging into endodontic therapy, you must master diagnosis. This was a heavily tested topic on my exams, competencies, and the national boards! Be sure to understand how to formulate both a pulpal and periapical diagnosis. See my “Endo Quick Guide” below for more information.

2. Understand > Memorize

Non-surgical root canal therapy (NSRCT) requires a very methodical sequence, involving a seemingly countless number of files. It can be difficult to get a grasp on them all. While it’s tempting to rely on rote memorization, a deeper understanding of the files will enhance your pragmatism. With a solid understanding of the file system, you can appreciate the effect of each file and the rationale behind the file sequence.

What does it mean to be a size 30 file? The tip of the file has a 30/100 mm diameter.   An 02 taper means that the diameter gets 02/100 mm larger every mm away from the tip. Source: @dentinaltube

3. Try a Microscope

An endodontic microscope greatly enhances your ability to visualize the tiniest details inside a tooth (by up to 25 times that of the naked eye). According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), research demonstrates better outcomes compared to treatment without vision enhancement or magnification. If you have access to microscopes at your school, do not hesitate to try them out! They are super expensive, so this is an invaluable opportunity.

4. Visit Post-Grad Endo

Offer to assist in your school’s post-grad endo department! Residents may be more available and approachable than faculty. They were recently in your shoes and may be able to break down complex concepts. This can also be a great place to find crowns to satisfy graduation requirements!

5. Understand your Grade

Your endodontics grade is comprised of both the lecture component (exams) and the sim-lab component (practicals). You should carefully examine the course syllabus to identify exactly what portion of your grade each component is assigned, then allocate your efforts accordingly. For example, if the lecture component comprises 30% of your final grade and the sim-lab component comprises 70% of your final grade, you should focus your efforts more heavily on sim-lab. 

This advice sounds simplistic, but dental students are notorious for being over-achievers! However, you will take ~51 credits your D2 year. There is simply not enough time in the day to study in the same manner as undergrad. Rather than working harder, you must learn to work smarter. Tackle your courses in a strategic manner to maximize your time.

What additional tips do you have to ace endo? Comment below!


For a competitive edge in sim-lab, download my Endo Quick Guide below. This comprehensive guide includes: pulpal and periodical diagnosis, common access preps, and NSRCT sequence. Be sure to cross-reference your faculty’s guidelines as well (individual practitioners may differ).


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