Uniform standards for diagnosis, treatment and prognosis outlined in white paper by American Association of Endodontists:
While all dentists are trained in endodontics, that training varies greatly, as does the clinical experience of each dentist. To help ensure that patients receive the best possible care from all practitioners at the highest standards, the American Association of Endodontists supports a single standard of endodontic education and care to provide patients with the highest quality care with the best result — saving their natural teeth. This single standard emphasizes endodontic competency and encourages general dentists to undergo additional training, recognize their limitations, and consult with specialists on treatment planning and referral.
"The AAE recognizes that there are great variations in endodontic educational experiences among all dentists. Despite these variations, it is essential that the knowledge base, competence and clinical performance of endodontic procedures by all practicing dentists meet a certain standard of care," said AAE President Dr. Garry L. Myers. "As such, the AAE has developed this comprehensive document outlining the minimum standards any dentist should meet, regardless of education or years of experience, when providing endodontic care to their patients."
As the global leaders in advocating the value and quality of endodontics, the AAE developed the Endodontic Competency White Paper to identify the knowledge and skill that should provide a standard for all practitioners who diagnose, develop a treatment plan, and perform endodontic procedures.
The white paper focuses on three key areas critical to competent endodontic treatment: diagnosis, treatment planning and prognosis:
1. Diagnostic standards include the ability of the dentist to assimilate the necessary subjective, objective and radiographic information to establish a pulpal and/or periapical diagnosis, provide appropriate emergency care and referral, and maintain proper patient records and documentation.
2. Treatment planning standards include case assessment to evaluate the difficulty of treatment and consideration of referral, development of a treatment plan that takes into account the restorability of the tooth, and special consideration for traumatic dental injuries.
3. Competency in the prognosis of endodontic treatment requires that clinicians be able to forecast the outcome of initial nonsurgical root canal treatment.
These guidelines were developed to assist educational institutions and organized dentistry in developing minimum educational requirements and skill requisites needed to perform endodontic treatment. The AAE's goal is a consistent endodontic curriculum that provides predoctoral students with a firmer foundation in the specialty, including a better understanding of the biologic basis of endodontic disease, diagnosis, treatment planning and prognosis, as well as today's state-of-the-art techniques and technologies.
"All clinicians must keep current with advances that are generally accepted and embraced by the endodontic specialty," explained Dr. Myers. "Endodontic best practices change with time and it is the responsibility of practitioners to be aware of such changes for those procedures they perform. The general dentist must perform endodontic care at the same level as the specialist, and it's in everyone's best interests, especially the patient's, to do so."
The Endodontic Competency White Paper is available on the AAE website at aae.org/guidelines. Practitioners are encouraged to use it as a reference with endodontic cases and educators should consider the competencies and intents when developing predoctoral curriculum.