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It’s complicated

Simon Stone offers nine steps to ensure success and shares some cases from which we can all learn

Simon Stone
Root canal treatment (RCT) can cause anxiety for young dentists. It requires careful case selection, open patient communication, recognition of clinical limitations and an understanding of when to refer.
There will always be endodontic cases that cannot be successfully managed in primary care that will benefit from specialist input. However, early in a career, when a difficult case involves an element of supervision or assistance from a colleague, it can knock the confidence of a young dentist looking to consolidate technical skills.

The situation is not helped by the fact that clinical experience in RCT for younger dentists is variable, with dental schools struggling to find suitable cases for students.

Interestingly, however, more dento-legal cases arise from endodontics than any other dental procedures, and recent graduates tend to have a disproportionate share of the problems in relation to this procedure. Here is a short road map to more predictable treatment outcomes.
  • Step 1: Communication
  • Step 4: Clinical Assessments
  • Step 7: Cavity Preparation
  • Step 2: Clinical Comparisons
  • Step 5: Diagnostic Tests
  • Step 8: Canal Caution
  • Step 3: Case Selection
  • Step 6: Clarity of Vision
  • Step 9: Criteria for referral
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