“Root canals aren’t what they used to be,” says the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). March 27 marks the start of Root Canal Awareness Week. The intention of the AAE is to raise awareness among the general public and other dental professionals of the tremendous advances in endodontics, the benefits of root canal treatments, and the role that endodontists play in saving teeth. By educating the public of the improved ability to diagnose and comfortably treat endodontically involved teeth, the AAE is hoping that negative perceptions of root canal treatments will change.
There are many misconceptions about root canal treatments. Some people may believe that root canal treatments don’t have a good prognosis and, as such, it may be better to simply extract teeth and replace them with implants. Some may also believe that root canal treatments are very painful and uncomfortable. They may be scared of trying to save their teeth with a root canal treatment.
In turn, the AAE is working hard to educate the public of the positive and comfortable reality of root canal treatments. With respect to general dentists and the general public, some may not be aware that root canal treatments with recurring or new endodontic pathology can be predictably treated. This could be done by means of nonsurgical root canal retreatments and/or surgical endodontic intervention.
The endodontic armamentaria that are available to us nowadays are significantly better than what was at our disposal in years past. This, at least in part, includes enhanced diagnostic abilities by means of 3-D cone-beam imaging, enhanced visualization thanks to the use of dental microscopes, along with enhanced intra-canal disinfection techniques and medicaments that are used in conjunction with significantly improved endodontic files.
The endodontic knowledge available to us as well as the way root canals are performed nowadays is significantly better than what has been available for many years. In turn, root canal-related matters can be better diagnosed, better treatment planned, better treated, and performed more efficiently. This would be a delight to patients who may want to save their teeth but are anxious in the dental chair.
Finally, the AAE aims to build and strengthen relationships with general dentists and other dental specialists. Ultimately and most importantly, when endodontists offer their specialty services and work as a team with other dental professionals, patients benefit.
For more information about Root Canal Awareness Week, visit the AAE website at aae.org.
Dr. Manor Haas is a Certified Specialist in Endodontics in Toronto, Canada, and is extensively involved in continuing education to dentists with emphasis on advanced instrumentation, obturation, and the benefits of 3-D imaging in endodontics. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and is on staff at the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry and the Hospital for Sick Children. He maintains a full-time private practice limited to endodontics and microsurgery in Toronto. He may be reached at manor@HaasEndoEducation.com.