Future of Endodontics

What is the future of the specialty, and what can we do to move the specialty forward?

First off, I would like to share some positive news for our specialty – and for public health in general:

Thanks likely in part to your advocacy and the diligence we all shared in speaking the truth and standing up for our specialty, it appears the misinformation vehicle Root Cause has been removed from Netflix. It is important to note that we cannot know for certain what led to its removal, but we are ecstatic that it is gone and we’d like to think our voices played a role.

While the video is still available on other media platforms, this is a win for public health, specifically for patients who deserve factual information to make informed decisions about their health care. We are grateful for the support of all our members in battling misinformation. Moving on to the core focus of this message – my last one in this newsletter as your president:

There are certainly challenges on the horizon, some familiar, some new. Among those that come to mind, in no particular order:

  • Reimbursement restrictions by third-party payers, including non-coverage of new technologies and evolving treatment modalities.
  • Increasing governmental regulation and complex compliance rules.
  • Unproven claims by equipment and materials vendors.
  • Increasingly costly advances in the technological aspects of treatment delivery.
  • Changing and evolving practice models.
  • Increasing quality of care gap between specialist and general practitioner delivered endodontic therapy.
  • Harkening back to the Netflix film: Unfounded and unscientific claims against root canal therapy by focal infection theory advocates.

Our strategic plan is positioning the organization to deal with these evolving challenges. Our three strategic goals are: to educate the public on the value of saving their natural teeth, to enhance the value of endodontists as partners in dental patient care, and to be the global leaders in advocating for the value and quality of endodontics.

The white papers on clinical competency written and released in 2018 are now gathering wider distribution to our partners in the health care community, insurance providers and government regulators. The advocacy for a single standard of care should bring an awareness of the clinical skills needed to safely and effectively provide quality endodontic care. Be on the lookout soon for a new video which will bring all of the progress made on our strategic plan to life!

Our consumer engagement initiative, Worth Saving,  debuted in January and should bring a heightened public awareness of the value and safety of endodontics done well. The timing of this campaign made possible a stronger response to the Netflix film, as we had already been enhancing our root canal safety materials available. We continue to seek collaboration with our national and international dental colleagues, health care professionals, major media outlets and governmental regulatory agencies to discredit the movie.

Technological advances continue to make diagnosis and treatment more effective. Software improvements for CBCT are giving better views of canal systems and lessening artifacts. Advances in irrigation protocol are showing great improvements in our ability to debride and disinfect canal spaces while newer obturation materials are showing promise for broadening and lengthening our success rates.

We will continue to try to anticipate the unknown acute challenges to come and to position the AAE to quickly respond and react to such challenges. We are a member-driven organization and rely on members to take an active role in the promotion of the value, efficiency and safety of root canal treatment. Maintain your membership and encourage colleagues to do the same as there is a power in numbers. The specialty needs you. Let’s move forward to create a bigger and better specialty.