The Air Force Dental Service has established evidence-based treatment standards for endodontics, including 3-dimensional filling of the canal system, cuspal coverage restoration of endodontically treated posterior teeth, and use of rubber dam. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the effect of these standards on outcomes of initial posterior root canal treatments (RCTs) completed by Air Force (AF) and civilian dentists with and without accredited postgraduate training.Methods
Treatment and follow-up radiographs of AF members who had an initial posterior RCT completed in 2011 were evaluated. A survey of all radiographs was performed to determine the (1) RCT obturation quality, (2) healing of periapical pathosis, and (3) presence and quality of cuspal coverage restorations.Results
A total of 2262 RCTs were examined, with 1960 RCTs meeting inclusion criteria for at least 1 evaluation category. For RCT obturation quality, 1810 RCTs were evaluated, and 96.0% were considered adequate. For cuspal coverage restorations, 1856 RCTs were evaluated, and of these 2.7% were inadequately restored. Healing of periapical pathosis was 91.5% and 85.7% for AF and referred civilian providers, respectively. Survivability was 94.4% for endodontists, 95.3% for AF general dentists with additional training, 87.9% for AF general dentists without additional training, and 78.4% for civilian general dentists. Overall, survivability was 94.1% for a follow-up period ranging up to 47 months, with a mean of 27 months.Conclusions
In this retrospective, radiographic analysis, evidence-based practices as followed in the Air Force Dental Service and accredited postgraduate training resulted in improved treatment outcomes.