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Australian endodontists’ perceptions of single and multiple visit root canal treatment


Dr Chankhrit Sathorn, 720 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3010, Australia (Tel.: +613 9341 1494; e-mail:


Aim  To ascertain endodontist’s point of view (treatment philosophy, rationale and preference) regarding single- and multiple-visit root canal treatment. To identify the basis on which the choice is made and how the information necessary for the choice is acquired.

Methodology  Endodontists registered with the dental practice board of every state in Australia were contacted, and if they agreed to participate, they were interviewed either face to face or by telephone. The following topics were addressed in an interview lasting 15 to 20 min: demographics, current clinical procedures, treatment rationales and preference. A hypothetical scenario was posed to investigate which treatment regimen they would prefer to deliver if biological concerns were eliminated from consideration.

Results  Fifty-two endodontists (71% of all Australian endodontists) agreed to participate in the study. Almost all (51/52) participants had performed single-visit root canal treatment, but very few routinely performed it. A majority of participants were willing to provide single-visit treatment where patients had time constraints, and in vital cases (including elective endodontics). The most powerful factor of influencing practice change was interpersonal contact with colleagues. Publications in academic journals have a weak influence in practice change.

Conclusions  Australian endodontists strongly prefer multiple-visit over single-visit root canal treatment even in cases where biological concerns are not an issue. Operator preference rather than biological or patient considerations appear to be the primary determinant of treatment choice.