Endodontic Faqs

What is endodontics?

The majority of people are not familiar with what an ENDODONTIST does. We are trained specialists in “all things root canal” and are here to help you get back in action!

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, often leading to episodes of severe pain as well as abscess formation in the bone. 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 radiographs. Should I be?

No. While radiographic studies will usually 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.  Cone beam imaging is also extremely safe.  We adhere to strict endodontic-specific parameters intended to maximize diagnostic quality while maintaining a low exposure dose to our patients.  In most cases, a 3D image will result in less exposure than taking a set of conventional bite wings!  

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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 endodontic 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. Failure to adequately restore your tooth in a timely manner can ultimately lead to reinfection, fractures and failure of your root canal treatment.  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, your treatment will be accomplished with the aid of the operating microscope.  Magnification and illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see and treat tiny details inside your tooth such as fractures, calcified canals, perforations, and canal obstructions.

CBCT (3D) Imaging:

As part of our diagnostic process, we will typically require both 3D and 2D imaging.  We acquire our 3D images using endodontic specific parameters which include lower radiation, shorted exposure times, and small Field of Views (FOV).  We have recently upgraded to the latest in 3D technology from J. Morita in order to acquire the most ideal image for endodontic use.

Gentle Wave:

In an effort to provide the most cutting edge root canal experience, we will often use the Gentle Wave system to irrigate the root canal system within your tooth as effectively and efficiently as possible.

What if my tooth cannot be saved?

When a tooth cannot be saved, we will help you determine if you are a candidate for dental implants. In such a case, you would be referred to a qualified surgeon to extract the tooth and prepare the site for the future placement of an implant.

What if I am taking medications?

Some medications may prohibit us from providing immediate treatment. Let us know about any medications you are taking in advance. Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis can stay in your system for an extended period of time, even after stopping them. Please let us know if you have ever taken any of these medications.