The FDI World Dental Federation has released the results of a survey that asked its national dental associations and national endodontic societies about the state of endodontics in their countries via a political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental exercise to identify the main barriers to optimal endodontic care.
For example, the survey found that endodontics is a registered specialty in just 53% of the countries surveyed. On average, about 30% of endodontic cases are referred to a specialist in countries where specialists are available. Plus, only 10% of countries surveyed collect data through a national oral health or endodontics survey.
The survey also found that the absence of oral health from the political agenda and limited oral health services offered in public clinics presented barriers to optimal endodontic care. Similarly, a lack of reimbursement or low-level reimbursement for endodontic treatment, along with the high expense of procedures, presented additional barriers.
Meanwhile, low oral health literacy and a low value placed on oral health impede endodontic care, as patients have preconceptions of endodontic procedures as painful and complicated. Plus, there is a limited availability of endodontic technologies, which often are expensive to purchase.
Finally, FDI noted that there is limited regulation of endodontic care and that more training is needed in endodontic procedures, especially at the undergraduate level. The organization calls for endodontic care to address a broader set of health outcomes as valued by the patient, including teeth retention and impact on overall health.
Many patients are likely to prioritize eliminating pain and keeping the affected tooth healthy and strong over the long term, FDI said. Considering the patient’s perspective in the provision of endodontic care has significant implications for existing treatment guidelines, the organization continued.