Skip to content

Specialty and Association Histories

AAE History Video:

Learn about the fascinating history and accomplishments of the AAE.


Endodontics: The Specialty

Journal Articles


Endodontics: An Ancient Science

Endodontics may have been practiced as early as the second or third century B.C. A skull found in the Negev Desert in Israel had a bronze wire in one of its teeth. Researchers believe the wire may have been used to treat an infected pulp.

Other evidence shows that pulp chambers were drained to relieve pain and pressure in the first century A.D. Over the next few centuries, early dentists increased their understanding of the role of the tooth pulp in dental health and developed numerous methods of treating it, including cauterizing and removing the pulp or covering it with protective coatings made of everything from gold foil to asbestos.

A Leap Into the Future: X-rays and Anesthetics

The greatest leap in endodontic history came with the introduction of x-rays and effective anesthetics in the first part of the last century. These advances made endodontic treatment more predictable and more comfortable for the patient.

Steady Progress

Interest in endodontics grew quickly as scientists began to research endodontic treatment. Their efforts and simultaneous scientific and technological advances, such as culturing and other modern methods, proved the safety and efficacy of root canal treatment, allowing hundreds of millions of patients to save teeth that otherwise would have been lost to extraction, the only alternative of the day.

Growing Professional Interest: The AAE is Born

In December 1942, because of the growing interest in endodontics, a small group of dentists, practitioners, and educators sent invitations to their colleagues to form an organization in which they could share common endodontic experiences and interests.

The American Association of Endodontists was founded in February 1943 at the Palmer House in Chicago.

An Evolving Association: The AAE Meets Professional and Public Needs in Changing Times

The AAE has continued to respond to the rapid advances in dental technology, the knowledge explosion in health sciences, and the dramatic changes in dental disease demographics.

The AAE mission has evolved from providing a single forum for the exchange of information into an agency for the education of the profession, formulation of educational policies and development of an educational system for its specialty. It is an advocate for endodontists and endodontics to both the dental profession and the public, promoting the highest quality endodontic care for all patients.

Professional Recognition: Endodontics Becomes an Official Dental Specialty

In 1963, the American Dental Association officially recognized endodontics as a dental specialty.