New clinical guide encourages endodontics before extraction

Nov. 11, 2010
A new clinical resource from the American Association of Endodontists is aimed at saving the natural tooth.

AAAE resource illustrates treatments that save the natural tooth

CHICAGO – A new clinical resource from the American Association of Endodontists is aimed at saving the natural tooth. 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 features 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. It also aims to increase collaboration between general dentists and endodontists to work as partners to develop treatment plans that could save the natural tooth.

“Tough cases don’t have to mean extracted teeth. Many endodontic treatments can save the natural tooth for a lifetime,” said Dr. Patrick E. Dahlkemper, chair of the AAE’s Clinical Practice Committee, which oversaw development of the tool. “The Guide helps general dentists evaluate a variety of conditions using case examples with radiographs and clinical photographs, clinical considerations, and guidance for successful outcomes based on prognosis.”

General dentists who previewed the Treatment Options Guide in focus group studies agreed that it would aid in treatment planning. “It seems like a good reference tool to help determine the overall prognosis and treatment plan for those cases that you are a bit unsure of,” said one general dentist. With 25 case examples and more than 80 images, one dentist commented, “Having the radiographs in each category gives a little reminder of exactly what you are looking for.” Another dentist said, “Before and after images are always dynamic. Seeing disaster areas heal in is very impressive.”

“The Guide is a valuable resource for AAE members and a mechanism for educating the general dentist on how we can partner in maintaining natural teeth for the patients we serve,” explained AAE President-Elect Dr. William T. Johnson, professor and chair of the department of endodontics at the University of Iowa. “The Treatment Options Guide compliments the Association’s Case Difficulty Assessment Form and will be used in predoctoral education programs throughout the country to establish foundation knowledge in our dental schools.”

The Treatment Options Guide is available for free download or purchase from the AAE Web site at

About the American Association of Endodontists
The American Association of Endodontists, headquartered in Chicago, Ill., represents more than 7,200 members worldwide, including approximately 95 percent of all eligible endodontists in the United States. 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.