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08 • Career


THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM


What are the opportunities for a career in endodontics? A


N estimated 14 million root canal treatments are completed in the UK every year and, thanks to advances in new technologies and techniques, treatment success rates can be 85 to 90 per cent or better.


The branch of dentistry concerned with the biology and pathology of the dental pulp and periapical tissues is endodontics. It also involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases and injuries in these tissues.


In the broadest sense, all procedures that


maintain the health and the vitality of pulpal tissues can be considered as relevant to endodontology. Once the pulp becomes diseased, practitioners in this field perform a variety of procedures, most commonly endodontic therapy or root canal treatment. They also provide endodontic retreatment, surgery, and treatment of cracked teeth or dental trauma. Patients often present as emergencies seeking relief from pain. The General Dental Council maintains a specialist list for endodontics and only registered dentists accepted onto this list can use the title “specialist” endodontist.


Entry and training For those intending to undertake endodontic training leading to specialist status, the GDC’s minimum entry requirement is two years of postgraduate foundation training (or equivalent) which may include a period of vocational training (VT) and may also include


a period of training in secondary care in an appropriate specialist environment. It is useful (but not essential) for budding specialty trainees to hold membership of one of the Royal Colleges including MJDF (Membership of Joint Dental Faculties RCS England), MFDS (Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery RCSEd and RCPS Glasg) or MFD (Membership of the faculty of Dentistry RCSI). The usual training period for endodontics


will be three years (4,500 hours) full time but part-time training is also possible. The programme content is flexible but tends to be roughly 60 per cent clinical, 25 per cent academic and 15 per cent research.


provided at each stage. Specialist training will take place in


programmes approved by the relevant postgraduate deanery and under the supervision of a designated lead trainer (educational supervisor). Appraisals will be held every six months, to include self-reflection on progress as well as trainer assessment leading to a personal development plan. After successfully working through this


programme, a certificate of completion of specialty training (CCST) is awarded by the GDC on the recommendation of the deanery in which the training took place. More information on training pathways is


“ Endodontics is a team effort with you, the patient and, crucially, a good assistant”


Training may be flexibly delivered through a


variety of methods including a structured, taught masters/doctorate degree programme or through a work-place based programme (specialty practice or hospital based training). Whichever route is followed, trainees will have to demonstrate certain minimum outcomes in the range and competence in requisite skills. Development of competence will usually take a systematic path progressively building on core skills. This means the learning process has to be carefully tracked and effective guidance


available on the British Endodontic Society website.


The job Endodontic specialists can choose to practise in a variety of settings, including private referral clinics, within general dental practices (offering NHS or private treatment), in a hospital setting or in an academic/research post. Those looking to set up a practice offering


endodontic treatment will require a referral base and the necessary training and will


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