Survey: Endodontists lack surgical training

A third of endodontists finish their residencies without enough training to do endodontic surgery, according to a survey published in the January 2009 Journal of Endodontics (Vol. 35:3, pp. 30-34).

The authors, from the U.S. Army Endodontic Residency Program in Fort Bragg, NC, quoted an estimate that surgery is needed in about 9% of periapical pathology. Many endodontists avoid it because of the difficult visibility and risk of doing harm.

Recent innovations using microscopes, illumination, microinstrumentation, ultrasonics, and improved root-end-filling material have made the surgery much more predictable, according to the authors.

But in surveying the active members of the American Association of Endodontologists, they found that only half had been trained in microsurgery.

The survey went to all 2,532 members of the organization, and 1,045 responded. Of these, only one-third felt their residency training was sufficient to prepare them for surgery and half went on to get additional training. Yet 91% perform some sort of root-end surgery.

"Although endodontists are embracing endodontic surgery, there remains room for continuing education," the authors concluded.

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