Introduction: In the United States almost 70% of root canal treatment (RCT) is performed by general dentists (GPs), yet little is known about their treatment protocols.
Methods: A paper survey was mailed to 2000 United States GPs with questions about the types of endodontic cases treated, routine treatment protocols, use of newer technologies, and endodontic continuing education (CE).
Results: Completed surveys were returned by 479 respondents (24%). GPs who perform RCT (84%) reported providing anterior (99%), bicuspid (95%), and molar (62%) RCT and retreatment (18%). Rubber dam was used always (60%), usually (16%), sometimes (13%), and never (11%). Newer technologies used by GPs included digital radiography (72%), magnification (80%), electronic apex locator (70%), and nickel-titanium rotary instrumentation (74%). Compared with GPs with >20 years of experience, those in practice for ≤10 years were more likely to use rubber dam (P < .05), nickel-titanium rotary instrumentation (P < .001), apex locators (P < .001), and magnification (P < .01); in contradistinction, GPs in practice >20 years were more likely to perform retreatments (P < .05). Women were less likely to perform retreatment or molar RCT (both P < .05). GPs with >5 hours of CE were more likely to use rotary instrumentation (P < .001), irrigant activation devices (P < .01), and apex locators (P < .001) and perform molar RCT (P < .001) and retreatment (P < .05), but no more likely to use rubber dam.
Conclusions: Recent GP graduates (≤10 years) were more likely to adopt new technologies and use rubber dam than those who practiced for >20 years. More experienced GPs were more likely to take on complicated cases than those with fewer years of practice. There was no association between hours of CE and compliance with rubber dam usage.
Keywords: American Dental Association; endodontic therapy; endodontics; general practice; magnification; microscope; radiography; root canal; surveys; technology.
Copyright © 2014 American Association of Endodontists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.