Fewer Americans fear root canals, more want to keep their natural teeth

Root Canal Awareness Week Fewer Americans fear root canal treatment, according to a recent survey by the American Association of Endodontists. Just over half of those surveyed, 54%, said root canals make them apprehensive, down from 60% in 2013 — the lowest numbers reported since the AAE began its annual survey in 2011. In addition, more than three-quarters of Americans, 76%, say they would want to avoid losing a permanent tooth, something root canal treatment can help prevent.
During its eighth annual Root Canal Awareness Week, March 30 to April 5, 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.

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“Endodontists and general dentists enjoy strong working relationships,” said AAE President Dr. Gary R. Hartwell. “Together we provide patients with comfortable treatment and positive experiences resulting in high-quality care and optimal outcomes to help them save their natural teeth.”

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A recent AAE study found that 94% of general practitioners have a positive or very positive perception of endodontists, and the same percentage agree that endodontists are partners in delivering quality dental care. By partnering with endodontists, general dentists can help patients feel less anxious while delivering the highest quality of care. In fact, 89% of patients report being satisfied after root canal treatment by an endodontist.
“Thanks to advancements like modern anesthesia, digital imaging and operating microscopes, today’s root canal treatments are often quick and painless,” said AAE President Dr. Gary R. Hartwell. “The root canal doesn’t deserve its bad reputation. Millions of root canal treatments are performed successfully every year, saving natural teeth and helping patients keep their smiles.”
To encourage collaboration between general dentists and endodontists, the AAE has several free resources available for download.
    • Treatment Options for the Compromised Tooth: A Decision Guide includes case examples with radiographs of successful endodontic treatment in difficult cases and encourages general dentists to assess all possible endodontic treatment options to save the natural detention.
    • The Case Difficulty Assessment and Referral Form offers guidance to help evaluate a patient’s condition and assess risk factors that may affect the outcome of treatment.
    • The ENDODONTICS: Colleagues for Excellence newsletter highlights 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.
    • Endodontists: Partners in Patient Care is a video that explains what an endodontist is and how specialists work with general dentists to provide the highest levels of patient care. It is a great resource to show patients when a referral to a specialist is needed.
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 keep patients satisfied.
To help promote Root Canal Awareness Week, print the AAE poster to share in your offices or clinics. For more information, visit www.aae.org/rcaw, follow the AAE on Twitter at @savingyourteeth or search #rootcanal.

For more information about the AAE, visit the Association's website.

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