How to Prepare for Endodontic Residency Applications

Below is an excerpt from the white paper I published in 2019 outlining how a dentist or dental student should prepare to apply to endodontic residency programs. You can download the entire white paper for free on Embrasure Space: Endodontic Residency Application Preparation

Deciding to apply to postgraduate specialty residencies is an important decision. Many dental students are aware of their interest in pursuing specialty training while they are predoctoral students, but it is not uncommon to come to the realization that a particular specialty interests you after graduation.

In my case, I decided I enjoyed endodontics enough to try and specialize after two years of practicing full-time as a general dentist. In 2019 (four years after earning my DDS), I applied to endodontic programs and interviewed at Texas A&M and Einstein Medical Center. Unfortunately, I was not accepted during this cycle, but I put together this paper to share insights into the application process for those who might be considering the specialty.

For those of you who have secured an interview, I published a guide with the information and example questions I wish I had access to while preparing for my interviews: Endodontic Residency Interview Questions.


The majority of programs participate in ADEA PASS. However, there are several programs that require their own applications or supplemental applications. When selecting programs, it’s obviously easier to apply to several programs quickly through the centralized application via ADEA PASS, but I would encourage applicants also apply to programs requiring separate applications, as well.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are the cornerstone of your application, and you need to begin identifying prospective references several years in advance of your application cycle.

You will need a letter of recommendation from an endodontist. Better still is a letter from a board-certified endodontist. Even better than that is a letter from a board-certified endodontist who is (or was) faculty at one of the endodontic programs you are applying to.

Current students and recent graduates should plan to request a letter of recommendation from their undergraduate director, or the department chair of your institution’s endodontic program.

If you graduated more than five years ago, obtaining letters of recommendation from previous instructors can be difficult, and postgraduate program directors are aware of this challenge. However, some programs have written requirements for letters of recommendation, and they typically ask for a certain number of letters from previous instructors. If you plan to apply to a school with such requirements, but cannot fulfill them, contact the program and ask if an application with letters from non-academic professionals would be considered sufficient. If the program says they only consider applications complete when they meet all of their requirements, you should then decide if it is still worth applying to the program.

Remember, you can get the entire paper for free on Embrasure Space here:

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