Endodontic literature suggests that only about 60% of endodontic therapy meets current technical standards and that general dentists may be making a significant contribution to this compromised care. If so, where in the continuum of dental education does this begin. This study evaluated the quality of obturation in mandibular molars provided on the one hand by 3rd year dental students instructed by endodontic faculty, and on the other hand by 4th year students instructed by general dentistry faculty, versus the quality of obturation achieved by endodontic residents who served as a control for both groups. Final radiographs were chosen from students in all three groups so that there were 22 samples per group. Three evaluators rank-ordered the radiographs. In order of excellence, the results were: (a) residents, (b) 3rd year students, and (c) 4th year students. There was no significant difference between the 3rd year students or the residents, only between residents and 4th year students (p < 0.05). The reasons for this outcome may range from dental school objectives to the private practice procedures of the general dentists who instructed the 4th year students.
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