The American Association of Endodontics has published a convenient Case Difficulty Assessment Form to help dentists better evaluate the need for specialist referrals in various cases.
When is the right time to refer a dental patient to an endodontist? As a dentist, it is important to establish a strong practice with a reputation for offering the highest level of patient care. Rather than taking on any and all cases, sometimes providing the best care means knowing when to partner with another dental specialist. By doing this, you can cultivate a more collaborative care environment and your patients will have confidence knowing you always put their needs first.
What Case Factors Warrant a Referral?
Knowing which cases to refer to a specialist depends on a variety factors. To address this, the American Association of Endodontics (AAE) has published an Endodontic Case Difficulty Assessment Form that can help practitioners more easily evaluate the needs of more complicated cases and determine whether they have the experience and capability to successfully treat that patient.
Some of the considerations the AAE encourages dentists to take into account when evaluating a case include:
- Inclination or rotation of the tooth: Extreme inclination or rotation of the tooth in the arch can make it difficult to treat that tooth and the patient may benefit from specialized care and treatments offered by an endodontist.
- Curvature of the canal and root: Moderate to severe curvature of the canal and root can make it difficult to treat and may warrant a referral.
- Radiographic appearance of canals: The presence of a pulp stone may make it difficult to access the pull chamber and canals and often places patients in a higher-difficulty category that a general dentist would want to refer to an endodontist.
- Presence of a crown or post: The presence of a crown or post can make access to the affected pulp more difficult.
In addition to these circumstances, it is important to understand special needs or requests the patient may have. If the patient shows signs of high anxiety about the treatment process, or requests elevated pain management techniques, it can be a good idea to refer them to an endodontist who has the technology, training, and expertise to address these needs so the patient has the most comfortable experience possible. Endodontists have extensive training in anesthesia administration, root canal treatment and surgery technologies, and the latest assessment tools to ensure a high rate of treatment success with minimal patient discomfort.
Give Patients Confidence and Peace of Mind
The AAE encourages dentists to understand their limits so they can realistically determine which cases are best to send for referral. Ultimately, it is important to recognize that patient referrals are a sign of maturity and responsibility on the part of a practitioner. Patients recognize and appreciate when practitioners build a collaborative team of experts in order to offer the best care possible and will feel more comfortable knowing their health is always in the best hands.
About Professional Endodontics
Professional Endodontics has been exceeding the standard of care in Wayne and Macomb counties for over 50 years. The team specializes with treating issues with the inside of the tooth and goes out of its way to provide a safe easy environment for patients. Each member of the practice is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and values high-quality relationships with referring dentists and specialists. Each endodontist at Professional Endodontics has been individually chosen as Best Dentists. Thanks to contemporary advances in endodontics, Professional Endodontics is able to use innovative technology to treat and save teeth that have suffered damage to the soft tissue within the roots of the tooth.
Professional Endodontics now offers three state-of-the art facilities in Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and a fully renovated Southfield location in the Comerica Tower. All locations offer the latest in advanced dental deliver systems, microscopy, and digital radiography.
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