Good times in the endo space or the end of reamin’ and dreamin’ as we know it?

Dr. Rich Mounce shares his optimism on the specialty of endodontics

Are we going forward as a specialty to better times, or are we headed toward extinction? My viewpoint on the endodontic space is somewhat unique in that I am a full-time clinician who earns his living treating patients and also the owner of an endodontic supply company (my second full-time job). From my vantage point from the chairside, podium, and trade show floor, I am overwhelmingly optimistic on the future of endodontics. 

Unquestionably, a number of forces propel our specialty into stiff headwinds. Such headwinds are manifested by third-party-owned corporate dental offices (often without adequate endodontic specialty care), wholesale extraction of teeth that could be retreated in favor of implants, an uneven economic recovery, and possibly too many endodontists in metro areas all competing for the same pie, among many factors. These are all challenges to our specialty. The above notwithstanding, our specialty will survive, evolve, and ultimately continue to prosper. 

140605 COL MounceAt the end of the day, water finds its level. In an endodontic context, such third-party-owned clinics will ultimately fail and/or evolve, depending upon the appropriate care for patients. The same can be said of the implant versus endodontics debate. The economic viability, convenience, and clinical success of microscopic retreatment relative to implant therapy will cause the pendulum to swing back to natural tooth retention where appropriate. Eventually, the dispersion of endodontists will find its equilibrium between the metro areas and less populated areas; how can it not? In time, a change in national leadership is inevitable and will realistically set us on a course to pursue responsible and sustainable pro-growth policies instead of continuing on the current regulatory expansion and debt-laden trajectory draining our economy and diminishing the outlook for upward mobility for our children and grandchildren.  

I am optimistic because the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) has been proactive, responsive, and acting in our collective best interest. They deserve our thanks for what is a thankless job done without credit and often in the background, balancing a wide range of interests.  

I am optimistic because my role with MounceEndo takes me around the country to visit endodontic programs and see the future of our specialists while in training. It’s exciting to see the infectious enthusiasm and desire to learn from the residents and their program directors that I encounter. Makes me wish I could go back to residency and/or to teach! 

I am optimistic because I see people like Dr. Ken Serota in Canada trying to bring global endodontic education online. I see Dr. Blake McKinley Sr. of Spokane, Washington, (now retired) donating his time and experience going to Ethiopia to train general dentists on how to save teeth through endodontic therapy, and companies like Aseptico donating supplies to support his efforts. Hats off to Glenn Kazen at Aseptico for doing so. While I am sure that there are many such examples of our collective willingness to share (far more than I can possibly list here), as a group, both the endodontists and our general dental colleagues are clearly trying to improve the level of endodontic care, education, and oral health around the world. This is good for us all. 

I am optimistic because I see companies like Sonendo raising endodontic technology to the next level and making our specialty all it can be, and creating solutions to vexing problems (how to truly clean a canal and dissolve tissue, bacteria, and biofilm, including the dentinal tubules). Say what you want about the major commercial forces present in the endodontic space, it’s companies like Sonendo that are truly innovating and providing the quantum leap forward for endodontics to the next level. 

My optimism on the future of endodontics led me to start MounceEndo and put my money where my mouth is. Like my colleagues, I want to see my specialty improve, grow, and prosper. It’s a privilege to do so. I welcome your feedback. 

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