My mission in life is to save teeth. Preventing the loss of teeth and the need for extraction is one of the benefits of root canal treatment, and it’s precisely why endo has become my calling in life.
I was lucky enough to take my message public on Charlotte’s local news station—Spectrum News 1 during Save Your Tooth Month—where I had the opportunity to do a little patient education on root canals and share my own story.
The Benefits of Root Canal Treatment in My Life
Some of you may already know my story—but I was born without eight teeth. I always joke that before I was a dentist, I was the ultimate dental patient.
While I was no stranger to the chair of my local dentist’s office, it wasn’t until after high school that I ran into some real problems. I had a number of procedures so that I could have a full set of teeth upon entering college—but something else started to surface.
I was plagued by intense pain on the lower left side of my mouth and chronic headaches.
I eventually had a tooth extracted. But it didn’t fix the pain. I had been misdiagnosed and had a perfectly good tooth extracted—and after all the time, money, and suffering, I was still in the same place where I started.
It was when I was referred to an endodontist that the benefits of root canal treatment became apparent.
That endodontist not only cured my pain—he believed me, he empowered me, and he changed my life.
And it was through that experience that I discovered my path.
The Importance of Root Canal Patient Education
Would my experience as a patient all those years ago have been different if I’d known about endodontics? It’s hard to say. But I do believe an educated and empowered patient makes the best decisions.
Because, after all—it is the patient’s own health and wellbeing that is in question anytime they set foot in a health professional’s office. And they know their own health, symptoms, and pain better than anyone. That’s why I love Save Your Tooth Month.
And root canals are so vital to saving natural teeth! When decay spreads to tooth’s nerve tissue, our patients need to understand that root canals are the way to remove diseased pulp tissue, stop the infection, and prevent both future re-infection and pain.
But root canals have gotten an unfair reputation as an unpleasant and unhealthy experience in some circles—and National Save Your Tooth Month, which happens every May, is the perfect occasion to set the record straight.
Ways to Educate Your Patients All Year Round
Sharing the benefits of root canal treatment needs to happen well beyond a single month, and as dental professionals, we have so many opportunities to spread the word. In fact, education is a foundational part of the work I do—both for the dental community and the general public.
E-School: Everyday Endo Made Easy is one way that I am helping to up the quality and efficacy of endo for everyone. Many of us (myself included!) found that we didn’t get much endo training in dental school. Yet this procedure is often vital for our patients—and we lose out on opportunities to help them out, as well as offer more procedures and earn more when we skip out on it.
But it doesn’t stop there!
Root canal education for patients can help put an end to dangerous and untrue rumors about endo and make sure that no one loses a tooth because they didn’t get the root canal they need. To that end, I’ve given a TEDx talk and even written a book to equip patients with the information they need to advocate for their own health!
And now I’ve even gotten to chat with local Spectrum News anchor Madison Elliot, and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful.
Empowered Patients = Healthier Communities
I strongly believe that the more educated a patient is, the better able they are to advocate for the care that is right for them.
As healthcare professionals, many of us got into this line of work because we wanted to help others. And I think that the hours we spend having candid conversations with our patients, sharing resources with them, and empowering them to make the best decisions for their health is as important as the procedures we perform in our practices.
For me, that means sharing the benefits of root canal treatment far and wide, in as many different mediums as I can, so I can ensure the information is accessible for patients and professionals alike.
Check out my feature on Spectrum News 1 and let me know in the comments—how are you educating and empowering your community? I want to know!