How to Educate Your Patients on RCT

Working in the dental field, you already know how pain-free a root canal procedure can be for patients, but the negative social stigma that drilling into a tooth has created over time makes it difficult to convince them of this fact. Without properly informed patients, they can make uneducated decisions about their dental care, which can lead to harmful results down the road. Thus, it is important for clinicians to put misleading claims about the procedure to rest.

As Dr. Sean Cooney explains in his educational video, “of all the procedures with a bad reputation, a root canal has arguably the worst.” And the AAE would agree with Dr. Cooney. According to an online survey last year, 56 percent of those surveyed said root canal therapy is the most stress-inducing dental procedure, followed by 47 percent who claim tooth extraction is the most stressful. Placement of a dental implant came in third among those surveyed with 42 percent.

However, root canal therapy’s bad reputation isn’t really deserved. “The truth is that a root canal is one of the easiest and most pain free procedures that modern dentistry has to offer,” Dr. Cooney says. And according to the AAE, once patients experience a root canal, the afore mentioned numbers about stress change drastically. In 2008, another AAE consumer survey found patients who have been through a root canal procedure are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than those who haven’t had the treatment. Thus, with proper education, patients can be more comfortable choosing root canal therapy versus a more harmful alternative such as an unnecessary extraction.

To educate patients, try easing their anxiety by presenting them with the previously mentioned facts and statistics, or maybe even a few comforting words from another clinician. If some patients need visual tools to help them deal with root canal anxiety, try a method similar to Dr. Cooney’s educational video.

Giving a patient peace of mind can sometimes be as simple as passing along information that explains the misconceptions of root canal therapy. The AAE also provides numerous resources that are great to share with your patients. Click here to download a poster educating patients on how root canals have changed or click here to find out the top three myths about root canals that you can share with your patients.

Whether you perform a root canal yourself or refer to an endodontic specialist, your patients deserve to be fully educated on all the treatment options. Take some time to explore a few of these tools you can use to ensure your patients know that root canals aren’t what they used to be.