Endodontic Specialists—What Makes Us “Special”
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”—John F. Kennedy
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint—and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.”—Oprah Winfrey
As we embark upon the holiday season, I feel proud and thankful to be a member of the American Association of Endodontists. We are an organization which is blessed by talented and dedicated individuals whose common goal is not only to support and advance the specialty of endodontics, but also to uphold the standards and ethics which define our profession and to assure the health of our patients and our communities. As I reflect upon the numerous achievements we have had during this past year, I am in awe of our vigilance, perseverance, and dedication to saving the natural dentition, and to make sure that all that require our expertise receive the finest care possible. I am also thankful to the over 7700 members of the AAE worldwide who have made significant contributions to patient care, education, endodontic innovation, and the general advancement of our specialty.
Last month I had the opportunity to attend the Foundation for Endodontics Board of Directors Meeting and the AAE Insight Track. As I gazed over the room, I witnessed the best of what our specialty has to offer—leaders in dentistry, preeminent educators, philanthropists, a dedicated staff, and engaged members, all dedicated to our specialty and to delivering the finest and most up-to-date care for our patients. Yes, endodontists are dental “specialists”. But the special nature of our profession goes way beyond the expertise we possess in performing root canal therapy. Rather it is our unique and genuine philanthropic commitment to our patients and our communities, our concern for access to care, and the realization of our responsibility as caretakers for the health and well-being of the individuals who we treat that set us apart.
As I reflect upon the achievements of our association over this past year, I am hopeful and thankful in so many ways. Our award winning “Worth Saving” campaign has reached millions of patients, making them aware of the importance of saving teeth and the value of seeking the care of an endodontist when they require root canal therapy. Our communication and marketing department has successfully launched an amazing media campaign on a national level, making the public aware of who endodontists are, what they do, and why what they do is important. The AAE has also expanded its advocacy activities, and in collaboration with other dental associations has gained national exposure as a promoter of access to care and insurance reform. Most recently the AAE was recognized as a significant contributor and supporter of the successfully passed “Question 2” in the state of Massachusetts, legislation which will undoubtedly become the impetus for dental insurance reform around the country and the ability for more patients to receive the dental care they need. We have also collaborated with and supported key international endodontic groups and societies in the hope that the key messages and values of the AAE are communicated and impactful for the citizens of the world.
The Foundation for Endodontics continues to be dedicated to the health of our specialty and our service to all patients who need our care. Its annual Endodontic Educator Fellowship and Full-Time Educator Development Grants give support and opportunity to dedicated educators who have a career-long passion to teaching, mentorship, and research, and help to assure that endodontics is taught by endodontists in our educational institutions. The Foundation’s Domestic Access to Care Grants help our concerned, philanthropic, and public minded members change the lives of patients in underserved communities in need of our services. As the program has already demonstrated, pain caused by endodontic disease can be debilitating and affect the lives of those who cannot afford root canal therapy when teeth are unnecessarily extracted. This year’s grantees will serve homeless individuals living on Skid Row in Los Angeles, children of undocumented immigrants in Baltimore, and families in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. These are just a few examples of the impact our foundation makes in the communities we serve—an impact which is made possible through the generosity of our members and our sponsors. Your donations to the Foundation strengthen endodontics and allow us to give back to the communities we serve. Please continue to contribute to this most important cause.
Yes, endodontists are specialists in performing root canal therapy—but we are much, much more. We are philanthropists, activists, innovators, stewards of the public health, advocates, and servants of the underserved. It is these roles that make us truly special. May you and your families have a restful and peaceful holiday season, filled with health and happiness, and may the New Year bring you prosperity and the will to help others in need as we strive to achieve our goal of world health. Thank you for your commitment to our association and to our specialty.