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 endodontic 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-rays. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to cotherapists via e-mail. 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 sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection. Sometimes the tooth is infected prior to endodontic treatment. If necessary antibiotics will be prescribed. The endodontic therapy will remove the source of the infection and the antibiotics will take care of the rest.
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 six 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 is helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography – CBCT:
We have the capability of performing a 3-dimensional scan of the tooth or teeth in question. The scan is not performed on every patient, but when necessary, this technology provides us with essential diagnostic information that can be obtained in a non-invasive way. During dental imaging the CBCT scanner rotates around the patient’s head, obtaining up to 600 distinct images. The scanning software collects the data and reconstructs it into anatomical data that can then be manipulated and visualized with specialized software. Thus, each case is customized individually for the best care possible.