Volunteer endodontists save teeth

May 7, 2010
Root canals on 54 underserved patients in the San Diego, Calif., performed at first American Association of Endodontists Access to Care Event.

The American Association of Endodontists held its first Access to Care Project in conjunction with its 2010 annual session in San Diego, Calif.

The volunteers performed root canals on 54 underserved patients in the San Diego community, providing approximately $85,000 of free endodontic treatment to those who could not otherwise have afforded it.

“The patients treated in San Diego likely would have had extractions if we weren’t able to help,” said AAE Immediate Past President Dr. Gerald N. Glickman. “The services we provided will help these patients keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.”

Dr. Glickman was the driving force behind the Access to Care Project, conceiving of the idea as part of the association’s commitment to educating and serving patients, and improving overall access to quality dental care.

“It was awesome,” patient Alisa Norrup said after her root canal. “I didn’t feel any pain at all … I thought it was going to hurt, but it didn’t.”

Chrystal Stroud also had a root canal and admitted to being nervous beforehand, but said she felt much better once she met her endodontist.

“He was so nice and professional and before he did anything he told me exactly what his was going to do so I was prepared,” she explained. “I thought it was going to hurt but it really wasn’t that bad at all, and I’m relieved that it’s done.”

The patients treated at the Access to Care Project were prescreened by community health clinics throughout the San Diego area. They were referred back to the clinics for restorative work and follow-up care.

“It’s nice to know that there are organizations like yours [that] are willing to help people like me in this hard economy,” said patient Katrina Leffingwell. “Without this program, I would not have been able to afford treatment.”

“As a specialty, we have to be involved in helping people who may not be able to afford endodontic care,” said Dr. Glickman. “The AAE’s first Access to Care Project is a very heart-warming example of what our members can do, but all dentists need to continue to provide that charitable care and improve access year-round.”

Approximately 40 AAE members and faculty and residents from the School of Dentistry of the University of Southern California participated in the day-long event, which received support from Henry Schein Dental/Henry Schein Cares.

For more information, go to www.aae.org.

To read more about the AAE, go to www.dentistryiq.com/index/display/article-display/1097318242/articles/dentisryiq/industry/2010/05/aae-selects_new_leaders.html.

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