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A Closer Look: Endodontic Outcomes Study Objectives

Dr. LawBy Alan S. Law, D.D.S., Ph.D.

The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network (NDPBRN) is conducting the Predicting Outcomes of Root Canal Treatment (PREDICT) study, an observational cohort study examining predictors of severe post-operative pain, and the frequency and source (odontogenic versus non-odontogenic) of persistent pain over 12 months, among 1,650 adult patients receiving root canal therapy. Participating dentists have until June 30 to complete training and until September 30, 2017, to enroll patients.

Currently, 33 endodontists have enrolled and completed the required training. Many others have expressed interest in the study and are undergoing the training. Our goal is to register at least 60 endodontists in the study, so we are seeking additional participants. The enrollment process involves completing a questionnaire and going through a short video orientation. Some additional web-based training is required to participate in the PREDICT study, which varies somewhat by network region.

The overarching goal of the PREDICT study is to investigate risk factors for severe pain following RCT, the prevalence and impact of persistent pain following RCT, and the impact of severe and persistent pain on health-related quality of life. Patient and treatment-related data will be collected before and after RCT completion. Follow-up data will be collected one week, six months, and 12 months following RCT completion. As part of the study, endodontists will recruit patients over six months and complete brief questionnaires during treatment visits and at 12-month follow-up.

If you are interested in participating, please review the FAQs below and visit the PREDICT website.

What are the study requirements?

  • Enroll in the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. This involves completing network orientation (20 min, CE available), as well as Human Subjects Protection and Financial Conflict of Interest training (~2 hours, CE available).
  • Complete specific training for the study (60 minutes or less, CE available).

How many patients will practitioners need to enroll in the study?

We would like to have general dentists enroll at least seven patients and endodontists enroll a minimum of 18 patients over six months.

Do practitioners receive compensation for participating in the research?

Practitioners will receive:

  • A tablet ($200 value)
  • Up to $85 per patient upon completion of the baseline data collection (up 15 minutes of your time)
  • $50 for each patient who finishes follow-up questionnaires
  • $35 for submitting radiographs

What do patients need to do?

  • Undergo RCT on a single tooth.
  • Complete tablet/online questionnaires at enrollment and one week, six months, and 12 months post-treatment.
  • Return for a follow-up visit at 12 months.

How are patients compensated?

  • Each patient is eligible to receive up to $165 for completing all of the questionnaires and the 12-month office visit.

Are there any other benefits of participating?

  • A significant benefit to participation is the opportunity to contribute to research aimed at predicting outcomes of root canal treatment.
  • Practitioners will earn CE credit and participate in practice based research.
  • Many practitioners commented that they enjoyed giving back to the dental profession while supporting patient care.
  • Each participating dentist will be provided individualized study results.
  • Group-level results also will be provided if three or more dentists from the same group participate.
  • Participating dentists are encouraged to serve as manuscript and presentation co-authors, and to take part in other study dissemination activities.

Dr. Alan S. Law is president of The Dental Specialists in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. He is a Diplomate and Past President of the American Board of Endodontics. For more information about participating in the PREDICT study, contact Dr. Law at