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If you found yourself driving between a Sam’s Club and the interstate (I-26) that runs through Johnson City, Tenn., earlier this year, chances are a unique billboard piqued your interest.

For three months, AAE member Dr. Keith Elliott sponsored the “Endodontists” billboard, which was designed to promote our specialty to the general public.

“It is a grassroots effort to combat the generalists, our competition,” Dr. Elliott said. “The sign cost around $1,000 per month. … There are currently three endodontists in my city, and several more in my referral area. Theoretically, the endodontists in my area could work together to promote the specialty.”

Dr. Elliott envisions the cost of the billboard could be shared and advocates for any other specialty-promoting marketing tools.

“A local endodontic cooperative effort would diffuse the expenses and would surely eventually increase the public awareness of our specialty. We must remember that generalists are our primary competition, not the other endodontists.”

He says endodontists need to make efforts to break away from the traditional referral sources, and that the goal should be to educate local communities in order to create patients who refer themselves when they are told that endodontic treatment is imminent.

“I know endodontists all over our country and very few of them have a consistent high demand for the services that only they can provide,” Dr. Elliott said. “Their schedules are polluted with retreatments or they are being forced to get comfortable placing implants and competing with the oral surgeons and periodontists.

“I truly believe that promotion of our specialty is a moral responsibility of all endodontists.”

The AAE will be unveiling a new consumer engagement initiative in January. Stay tuned to learn more about the exciting efforts that will be undertaken to promote our specialty to the public.