Endodontic FAQ

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 cotherapists 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.

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?

Operating Microscopes:

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.

Digital Radiography (X-Rays):

Digital X-Rays provide sharp, clear images right on a computer screen in real time, requiring just a fraction (1/10th) of the radiation of traditional film X-Rays.  This helps us explain your diagnosis and treatment required as you will be able to see the diseased tooth in question on a 20 inch monitor.  Because the pictures are immediate, we are able to complete your treatment more efficiently.  Also, the use of digital radiographs eliminates our need for harsh film processing chemicals, which helps preserve our delicate ecosystem.

Intra-Oral Photography:

Our Operating Microscope allows us to take high detail photographs of your individual tooth to demonstrate and record the aspects of your particular situation.  The images also appear on our 20 inch monitor so you will be able to see what we see!  In addition, this allows us to explain treatment to your more effectively.

Sonics & Ultrasonics:

Ultrasonics are essential root canal treatment, particularly with retreatment cases and in performing precision microsurgery.  Ultrasonic technology allows the doctor to delicately clean layers of the root canal system, where debris and bacteria can reside.  Sonics are designed to vigorously energize antibiotic irrigants.  They also work to disrupt the smear layer and biofilms, which allows for greater results and higher success rates.

Nickel Titanium Motorized Files

This system is designed to set the new standard in efficient and effective root canal preparation and disinfection. This allows the doctor to clean and shape the most calcified and tortuous canals to achieve levels of predictability and performance in canal cleaning that is unmatched.  

3-Dimensional Obturation (Filling) Equipment

This equipment is the very latest in thermoplastic obturation technology. Because there are numerous ramifications and accessory canals in the root canal system this device allows us to predictably and consistently fill the canals in three dimension.