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Feb 04

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Have you ever wondered what are the levels of qualification to do a root canal?

There are 3 recognized qualification levels. The minimum qualification is to be a licensed dentist. That means it is legal for any dentist to do a root canal even if they normally don’t do root canals on a regular basis or take continuing education courses on root canals. The next level is to take specialty training for 2-3 years to earn a certificate in endodontics. At that point a dentist may then limit their practice to the specialty of endodontics and quit performing other dental procedures outside of the specialty of endodontics. This is the minimum qualification required to be a specialist in endodontics.

The highest clinical qualification that can be achieved is to be a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics (ABE). The purpose of the ABE is to assure the public that the endodontists it certifies have demonstrated exceptional knowledge, skill and expertise in the specialty of endodontics and to progressively raise the quality of patient care. Focused determination and several years of study are necessary to complete the 3 step process. It takes an extraordinary amount of personal time to study the endodontic research in much greater depth than is covered in the 2-3 years of study to earn an endodontic certificate. The process includes a 400 question written examination, live verbal questioning by 6 examiners of the American Board of Endodontics, and a presentation of 15 complex cases of a wide variety of endodontic procedures that demonstrate the expertise of the endodontist. The cases must have been completed and followed for at least one year to be certain of success.

Endodontic procedures and technology are constantly changing and it takes continual dedication and enthusiasm to be a lifelong learner. Few dentists have the time or determination to follow the endodontic research and it doesn’t take long to fall behind. It is important to choose a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics because you will have a greater chance of having the newest and proven techniques performed by someone who loves their specialty and keeps up with the changing technology.

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