The following fact sheets have been
developed by the American Association of
Endodontists for educational purposes.
• Natural Rubber Latex Allergy
Patient Fact Sheet (PDF
File, 16 KB)
• Precautions for Patient Safety Fact
File, 14 KB)
• NICO (Neuralgia-Inducing Cavitational
Osteonecrosis) Lesions (PDF
File, 45 KB)
Fact Sheet: Endodontics and
The following fact sheet includes useful
information about endodontics, endodontists,
root canals, the AAE and its public and
professional awareness campaign,
Endodontists: the root canal specialists.
Endodontics is the science of treating
problems with the tissue inside the tooth.
When this tissue or the tissue surrounding
the tooth root is diseased or damaged due to
decay or trauma, endodontic treatment
typically can save the tooth.
Endodontists are dentists with special
training in diagnosing and treating oral and
facial pain, and problems associated with
the inside of the tooth.
- There are approximately 4,000 active
endodontists in the United States.
- Over the past two decades, the number
of endodontists has grown by 84 percent,
outpacing growth among general
practitioners and other dental
specialists. Growth is expected to
continue in the coming years and decades.
- Endodontists employ a range of
endodontic procedures to save natural
teeth, including performing root canals
(the most common endodontic procedure),
repairing cracked teeth and replacing
avulsed teeth (teeth knocked out by
Endodontists must complete four years of
dental school plus two or more years of
advanced training in endodontics.
- There are 50 postdoctoral endodontic
training programs in the United States.
- Approximately 400 postdoctoral dental
students are enrolled in those programs.
Common Endodontic Symptoms
Patients may need endodontic treatment,
including root canals, if they experience
any of the following symptoms:
- prolonged dental sensitivity to heat
- tenderness of teeth to touch and
- facial or oral swelling.
Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp
(the soft tissue inside the tooth) becomes
inflamed or infected as a result of injury,
deep decay, repeated dental procedures on
the tooth, or a cracked or chipped tooth.
- Most patients who have had a root
canal performed by an endodontist describe
the procedure as virtually painless.
- Eighty-five percent of patients who
have had a root canal performed by an
endodontist would return to an endodontist
for future work.
- Between 1990 and 1999, the number of
root canals performed in the United States
increased by 13 percent to nearly 16
- Root canals performed by endodontists
are a better and common alternative to
- When performing a root canal, an
endodontist removes inflamed or infected
pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the
inside of the canal (a channel inside the
root), and fills and seals the space.
- After performing the procedure, the
endodontist returns the patient to a
general dentist to have a crown placed or
other restorative work performed.
- After restoration, the tooth continues
to function like any other tooth.
Saving Natural Teeth
Although it is possible in some cases to
replace an extracted tooth with an implant
or bridgework, Americans have strong
negative feelings about losing their natural
- In a recent AAE survey, 76 percent of
participants said they would prefer a root
canal to tooth extraction.
- Nearly a third would not sell a
healthy front tooth for any amount of
- Most people are not aware that root
canal treatment is a viable alternative to
- Older individuals are much more likely
than younger individuals to have
experienced a tooth extraction.
- Women are more likely than men to have
had a tooth extraction.
- More than half (58 percent) of those
who have had a tooth extracted did not
replace it with anything; the remainder
replaced the tooth with a bridge (17
percent), dentures (12 percent) or an
implant (8 percent).
- Artificial teeth can limit your
ability to chew certain foods necessary to
maintaining a balanced diet.
About Endodontists: the Root
The AAE launched a public and professional
Endodontists: the root canal specialists,
in 2005 to educate consumers about what
endodontists do, dispel myths and
misperceptions about root canals and
endodontic treatments, and ensure that other
dental professionals understand and value
the expertise endodontists bring to their
About the AAE
The American Association of Endodontists,
headquartered in Chicago, represents more
than 6,300 members worldwide, including
approximately 95 percent of all eligible
endodontists in the United States. The
Association, founded in 1943, is dedicated
to excellence in the art and science of
endodontics and to the highest standard of
patient care. The Association inspires its
members to pursue professional advancement
and personal fulfillment through education,
research, advocacy, leadership,
communication and service.