MOST PEOPLE HAVE heard of the American Dental Association, but did you know there’s also an organization for endodontists? The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) is a professional organization that supports the endodontic dental specialty, with over eight thousand members worldwide. It was founded in 1943 and its headquarters are in Chicago.
The AAE’s Role
The AAE has several main functions, including:
- Patient education and outreach regarding saving natural teeth through root canal therapy
- Providing support for educators teaching the next generation of endodontists
- Support for continuing education in endodontic best practices
- Member advocacy
- Support for endodontic research
- Certification for endodontists via the American Board of Endodontists
Endodontics Is an Ancient Science
Archaeologists have found evidence of a form of ancient root canal treatment. In the Negev Desert in Israel, a skull was discovered with bronze wire in one of its teeth. Researchers believe it was used to treat infected pulp. Other evidence has shown that people were draining pulp chambers to relieve pressure and pain in the first century A.D.
Over the centuries, dentists learned more about the role dental pulp plays in the health of teeth and they developed a variety of methods for treating it, including removing it, cauterizing it, or covering it in protective coatings of gold (or more questionable things like asbestos).
The Biggest Leap in Endodontic Advancement
Two things paved the way for incredible advancement in the field of endodontics: anesthetics and X-rays. With these new tools, endodontists were able to ensure patient comfort and get much better diagnostic information about their teeth before operating. Since then, endodontics has continued to advance, and millions of people now have their teeth saved from extraction by root canal therapy each year.
Interest in Endodontics Grew and the AAE Emerged
In December of 1942, a small group of dentists, educators, and practitioners sent out invitations to their colleagues because they wanted to form a society centered around endodontics, where they could share their interests and experiences. A mere three months later, they founded the AAE in Chicago at the Palmer House.
How the AAE Has Evolved
In the decades since its founding, the AAE has responded to changes in the dental profession and American society, especially the many advances in dental technology and health sciences, as well as dramatic changes in the demographics of dental diseases. The mission of the AAE has grown past serving as a simple forum for exchanging ideas and become an educational agency for the entire profession, promoting the very best endodontic care for patients.
Endodontics Has Been Its Own Specialty Since 1963
Owing largely to the incredible work of the AAE, endodontics was recognized officially as a dental specialty by the ADA in 1963. There’s no one better to save your tooth than an AAE endodontist!