Root Canal Awareness Week Helps Forge Partnerships in Dentistry

CHICAGO – A recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists revealsthat 70 percent of Americans fear losing a natural tooth. Ironically, that same percentage also fears root canal treatment, the exact procedure that can save their pearly whites. During its fifth annual Root Canal Awareness Week, March 27-April 2, the AAE will reach out to the public to help dispel the myth that root canals are painful, as well as recognize the importance of endodontists and general dentists as partners in patient care.

More survey respondents indicated a desire to avoid losing a permanent tooth or gettingroot canal treatment than paying taxes or speaking in public. Two-thirds also ranked root canals as the dental procedure they most fear, more than having a tooth pulled or a cavity filled.

Unfortunately, much of the fear of root canals is based on outdated misconceptions. A previous AAEsurvey found that 89 percent of patients were satisfied when they received treatment from an endodontist, and the AAE also found that the vast majority of general dentists, 93 percent, agree that endodontists are important partners in delivering quality dental care.

"The AAE is thrilled that general practitioners, as much as endodontists, cherish the importance of partnership for the well-being of all patients," said, Dr. Clara M. Spatafore, president of the AAE. "The main goal is to provide patients with an easy and comfortable transition between their dentist and endodontist, through open communication between the doctors. We want dentists to understand that we will take care of their patients to the best of our ability and send them back with a positive experience behind them."

The AAE video, Endodontists, Partners in Patient Care, features general dentists expressing the positive relationship they share with their referring endodontists and is a great resource for dentists to show their patients when a referral to a specialist is needed.

The AAE also offers clinical resources for use by endodontists and general practitioners. The recently released Treatment Options for the Compromised Tooth: A Decision Guide helps clinicians evaluate a patient's condition and develop a treatment plan to save the natural tooth. The Guide gives 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. 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. Additional clinical resources are available at www.aae.orgdentalpros.

Root Canal Awareness Week also provides the opportunity to broaden the public's knowledge about the importance of dentistry, part of the American Dental Association's strategic action plan to improve the health literacy in dentistry. The ADA defines health literacy as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate oral health decisions." Through Root Canal Awareness Week, the AAE will build upon the goal to improve the public's knowledge of oral health by communicating the importance of saving natural teeth and working with endodontists as a dental provider to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

To help promote Root Canal Awareness Week, print the AAE poster to share in your offices and community centers. For further information about the AAE and Root Canal Awareness Week, please contact Meredith Friedman, public relations coordinator, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About the American Association of Endodontists
The American Association of Endodontists, headquartered in Chicago, Ill., represents more than 7,200 members worldwide. Endodontics is one of nine dental specialties formally recognized by the American Dental Association. The AAE, founded in 1943, is dedicated to excellence in the art and science of endodontics and to the highest standard of patient care. The Association inspires its members to pursue professional advancement and personal fulfillment through education, research, advocacy, leadership, communication and service.

Root Canal Awareness Week
Sponsored by the AAE, Root Canal Awareness Week provides an opportunity to dispel long-standing myths about root canal treatment and increase understanding of the procedure as one that is virtually painless. The week also seeks to raise awareness of endodontics as a specialty and highlight the importance of endodontists, the dentists who specialize in root canal treatment. For more information on Root Canal Awareness Week activities or to find an endodontist in your area, visit www.aae.org.
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