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 CD-ROM.
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?
Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT):
We utilize the Kodak 9000 3D which gives us an unprecedented three dimensional (3-D) view of the oral cavity and the root canal systems of teeth. This technology improves both endodontic diagnosis and treatment planning.
When used for preoperative assessment, CBCT imaging provides highly detailed information on the entire tooth structure, including the location and number of canals, pulp chamber size and degree of calcification, direction and curvature of root morphology, tooth and root fractures, inflammatory lesions and defects. Further, it can provide insight into root resorption, the effects of periradicular and periapical disease, as well as predict the potential for complications.
CBCT is an invaluable endodontic tool for use before, during, and after treatment. Once a treatment plan has been determined, CBCT can be used to ensure that metallic files placed into the root canal are the appropriate size and shape. It also offers a baseline for healing in the short and long term, which is of the utmost importance in monitoring treatment results, delays in healing, re-treatment, and surgical options.
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. We have multiple Global Surgical Microscopes that provide numerous advantages during endodontic treatment.
They improve the ability to thoroughly clean prepared canals.
They improve lighting and magnification to aid in locating small and calcifies canals.
They aid in the management of separated (broken) instruments in canals.
They improve the ability to detect and evaluate root fractures and other abnormalities.
The use of an electronic apex locator helps to determine the length of the root canal spaces predictably, efficiently and accurately minimizing the number of x-rays needed during the course of treatment.
We use piezoelectric ultrasonic units which helps to remove posts, as well as separated (broken) instruments from the root canal system. Ultrasonics also help to maintain fine control during for small root end preparations during endodontic surgery.