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Aust Endod J. 1999 Dec;25(3):124-32.

Clinical judgement and decision making in endodontics.

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Restorative Dentistry, School of Dental Science, University of Melbourne, 711 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.


Clinical judgement in endodontics consists of much more than diagnosis and treatment planning for the affected tooth. The issues involved in clinical judgement and decision making can be summarised by three questions: 1. Is endodontic treatment appropriate for the patient? Endodontic treatment should be undertaken only as part of an agreed, comprehensive treatment plan that takes into account patient concerns as well as objective clinical findings. 2. How difficult is the endodontic treatment? The difficulty of the case should be balanced with the skill and experience of the dentist, in deciding whether to manage the case in general practice or to refer the patient to an endodontist. The use of a standard form for assessing the difficulty of each endodontic case will aid in consistent, systematic assessment of patients. An example of such a form is provided. 3. What is the prognosis for the tooth? The outcome of endodontic treatment depends not only on the endodontic treatment but on other factors such as restorability and periodontal status. The prognosis will be compromised by procedural problems and by restorative and periodontal factors. In all but routine cases, the steps involved in decision making may be more complex and less easily resolved than the practical clinical aspects of endodontic therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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