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AAE uses Root Canal Awareness Week to dispel myths

The AAE has made this logo, a poster and many other resources available online. (DTI/Photo/AAE)

Tue. 6 March 2012


CHICAGO, IL, USA: While 63 percent of Americans would like to avoid getting a root canal, even more, 69 percent, want to avoid losing a permanent tooth, according to a recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). During Root Canal Awareness Week, March 25-31, the AAE wants to dispel myths surrounding root canal treatment and encourage general dentists to involve endodontists in case assessment and treatment planning to save patients’ natural teeth.

Endodontists’ mix of advanced training, techniques and magnification technology maximize the potential for a comfortable patient experience and successful treatment outcome.

“It’s important to patients that we save their natural teeth whenever possible. Putting them in the hands of qualified specialists is a win-win for the patient and the dentist,” says AAE President Dr. William T. Johnson. “By referring patients to an endodontist, dentists demonstrate the concern they have for quality and outstanding treatment of each individual in their care.”

More than half of Americans, 56 percent, say root canals are the dental procedure that makes them most anxious, according to the AAE’s January survey of 1,014 U.S. adults. A dentist partnering with an endodontist can put patients more at ease, and when dentists refer their patients to endodontists for root canal treatment, the patients are more likely to be satisfied, according to a 2007 national consumer survey.

Endodontists and general dentists have always enjoyed positive partnerships, with 94 percent of dentists reporting a very positive or positive perception of endodontists. The AAE video, Endodontists, Partners in Patient Care, features general dentists discussing the positive relationships they share with their endodontist colleagues. It is a great resource to show patients when a referral to a specialist is needed.

The AAE also provides general practitioners with many educational resources that encourage high standards of endodontic care and support collaboration. Treatment Options for the Compromised Tooth: A Decision Guide includes case examples with radiographs of successful endodontic treatment in difficult cases and is designed to encourage general dentists to assess all possible endodontic treatment options before recommending extraction. The Case Difficulty Assessment and Referral Form can be used to evaluate a patient’s condition and assess risk factors that may affect the outcome of treatment. Biannual mailings and online archives of the ENDODONTICS: Colleagues for Excellence newsletter highlight clinical topics of interest to dentists who perform their own endodontic treatment and benefit from coverage of best practices and the latest advancements in the specialty.

By using these tools during Root Canal Awareness Week and throughout the year, general dentists ensure they are developing the best treatment plans to save natural teeth, and keeping patients happy. Additional clinical resources are available at

“Our main goal as endodontists is to provide patients with a seamless transition between their dentist and specialist through emergency care, timely treatment, appropriate follow-up and referral back for restorative treatment. Communication and collaboration between the doctors is an essential component of the partnership,” Johnson says. “At the end of the day, patients want to know they can trust their dentists to do the right thing for them at the right time — it’s our responsibility to earn and maintain that trust.”

(Source: AAE)


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