What is endodontics?Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving treatment of the pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Though the outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems, can severely damage the pulp. When that happens, an endodontic specialist removes the diseased pulp to save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally.
I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontics treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. Some patients wonder if dental x-rays are necessary. The answer is yes. Many diseases, lesions, and conditions can only be detected with a dental radiograph. Many times patients have no symptoms or signs of disease. Dental x-rays help dentist to identify problems so that pain and extensive, costly treatment can be avoided. While dental patients do have the right to refuse x-rays, we can NOT do endodontic treatment with out taking x-rays.
What about infection?
Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection. We use a rubber dam during treatment to make a dry and sterile environment while working. We also prescribe antibiotics to most patients to help clear up any lingering bacteria and to help with the healing process.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. You and your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, read over your post-operative instruction sheet or call our office. There is a healing process after a root canal and having symptoms after treatment is common.
What new technologies are being used?
In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination, LOUPES are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth.