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. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to co-therapists via e-mail or diskette. For more information contact Schick Technologies, Inc.
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.
How long does it take?
Most endodontic procedures can be completed in one visit. The typical appointment lasts between 60 to 75 minutes. Due to the complex nature of some procedures, it is sometimes necessary to schedule a second visit for the same tooth. Retreatment and endodontic surgical procedures require a consultation visit before treatment is scheduled.
Certain medical conditions (artificial heart valve or artificial joint patients) require that some dental procedures be performed with antibiotics taken beforehand. Please let our appointment coordinator know if you normally require antibiotics before dental procedures.
Patients under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who can provide consent for your procedure.
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 his office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. 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, we are available at all times to respond.
What new technologies are being used?
In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.
Cone Beam CT:
Our practice utilizes state of the art, small volume cone beam CT (computed tomography) technology that provides highly accurate, 3-D radiographic images for the diagnosis, planning and treatment of endodontic disease. This allows three dimensional visualization of teeth, bone, sinuses and surrounding structures with minimal radiation to the patient, enabling a level of anatomical accuracy and patient care not possible with 2-D technologies (regular dental x-rays). With the addition of cone beam CT technology to our office, our practice is committed to providing innovative, high quality, patient care.