What is endodontics?Endodontics, also called root canal therapy, is the area of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of the diseased dental pulp. The pulp is the small amount of soft tissue containing minute nerves and blood vessels within the tooth. During initial tooth development, the pulp is responsible for the formation and growth of the hard part of the tooth. After the crown and root(s) of the tooth have matured, the pulp tissue remains locked inside the tooth in a small root canal space.
During a lifetime, the pulp may become diseased due to a variety of reasons (decay, trauma, deep fillings, cracks). The inflamed pulp can quickly cause pain and even infection of the surrounding bone and soft tissue. Elimination of the diseased pulp can be accomplished in two ways: saving the tooth by performing endodontic therapy, or extracting the tooth.
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. Digital radiography produces radiation levels up to 90% lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent via e-mail or diskette. For more information contact Schick Technologies, Inc.
What about infection control?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/her office for a follow-up 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, 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.
- Apex Locators: This is an electronic device used in endodontics to determine the position of the apical foramen and thus determine the length of the root canal space. The apex of the root has a specific resistance to electrical current, and this is measured using a pair of electrodes typically placed on the lip and attached to an endodontic file. The electronic principle is relatively simple and is based on electrical resistance; when a circuit is complete (tissue is contacted by the tip of the file), resistance decreases markedly and current suddenly begins to flow. According to the device, this event is signaled by a beep, a buzz, a flashing light, digital readouts, or a pointer on a dial.
- Ultrasonic unit and tips: they assist in surgical and non surgical root canal therapy under the dental microscope.