When I think back to my least favorite procedures in dentistry and dental school, I always land on endodontics. I struggled to get it right, I didn’t get how to make the files and reamers (I’m dating myself here) work effectively and efficiently, and getting the gutta percha fills to look like the textbooks said they should look never happened in my hands.
I broke files, my fills were short and I had endos fail after a few short years. When I finally gave up and quit doing endo, life got better in my practice and my endodontist was much happier, too.
Why did this have to be so hard? I admit that I had a bad attitude in school and probably didn’t pay close attention, and when I was finally in private practice there were not a lot of educational opportunities available to learn how to get better. However, today is much different. The art and science of endodontics has advanced significantly with much better instrumentation and fill techniques and materials. With the right instruction, and some practice, even I could do some endo successfully.
Please don’t misread this; I am an absolute proponent of interdisciplinary care and I have always had great relationships with the endodontists with whom I’ve worked. That said, I also believe that I should do any procedure I am licensed to do as long as I can do it to the standard of care in my community. I think endo is one of those procedures that should be done by general practitioners, and I also think that those same GPs should have a solid working relationship with an endodontist for the cases they choose to refer.
According to the ADA's 2006 report, about 68 percent of endodontic procedures in the U.S. are done by GPs. If we are doing that much endo then we better do it as well as our endodontic colleagues.
We are launching a comprehensive didactic endodontic curriculum for Spear Online. Dr. Ali Nasseh, an endodontist from Boston who is a long time educator, faculty member at Harvard and innovator, along with his partner, Dr. Dennis Brave, who is also an endodontist, former faculty member at Penn Dental School and also a long time educator, have created an outstanding series on endodontics. It will not only bring the practitioner up to date on current diagnostic and therapeutic trends and techniques, but it will also offer a complete technical guide to improving the quality of your endodontic procedures. The series will also discuss the latest advances in sealers and filling materials for endodontics.
These two do such a great job of presenting the material in a comprehensive approach that is easily digestible and, best of all, easy to implement.
The best part of this series is that it occurs in short segments that can be watched over several days or even weeks depending on your schedule. That’s the magic of Spear Online: information that is relevant to your practice when you need it and on your time frame.
Steve Ratcliff, D.D.S., M.S., Spear Faculty and Contributing Author