Endodontists continue debate with implant dentists

2009 03 23 10 58 12 525 Implant 70
“Do patients with a broken arm expect the doctor to give them a prosthetic arm?”
— Gerald Glickman, D.D.S., M.S., M.B.A.,
     president, American Association of

"Arguments that root canal treatment is more costly are fatuous," American Association of Endodontists (AAE) President Gerald Glickman, D.D.S., M.S., M.B.A., said Monday in an ongoing debate with the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID).

"Do patients with a broken arm expect the doctor to give them a prosthetic arm?" Dr. Glickman asked in a news release. "Why would the same patients believe they need to get a prosthetic tooth screwed into their jaw if the real tooth could be healed?"

The AAID quickly issued a rebuttal Tuesday, with a written retort expressing "regrets that AAE is troubled by a recent AAID news release that was intended to inform consumers that dental implants can be a viable option to repeating extensive endodontic or periodontal treatments to save obviously failing teeth."

The exchange is the latest in a ping pong match of news releases that started in November 2008 with a statement from the AAE claiming that implants require more care than teeth treated with root canal therapy.

“Implants and crowns ... provide a permanent solution for replacing missing or badly failing teeth to improve oral health, dentition, and cosmetic appeal.”
— American Academy of Implant

In August, the AAID issued a release saying that "there is a higher failure rate of root canal procedures versus dental implants."

Monday came the new AAE statement arguing that the AAID overlooked research that shows the success rate of both procedures to be about equal.

Tuesday's AAID statement takes pains to clarify its August assertion -- the organization didn't intend to imply that implants are always better, just that they are a good alternative to "failing, hopeless teeth that eventually will fall out due to bone loss," and particularly to multiple root canal treatments.

In fact, the two organizations seem to agree that both approaches have their place. "For some, repeated endodontic care might be preferred to save a tooth at all costs while others may decide to replace diseased teeth with dental implants," the AAID concluded.

And the AAE admits that "there are cases when a tooth cannot be saved, and implants would be a realistic option."

Copyright © 2009 DrBicuspid.com

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